Monday, October 24, 2011

Black Eyed Peas with Bacon

So it turns out my camera ISN'T in another state. It was in my gym bag. How it got in there, I have no idea. But it does tell all of us just how long it's been since I was last at the gym. Not that any of that helps us today, since I made this food and ate it all before I knew that I wanted to give you pictures. Well, not that I wanted to. But that I could. And such. Y'all know what I'm saying.

So anyway. Black eyed peas. Evidently, I had about 5 pounds of them. Huh. Didn't know. I unearthed this little treasure trove when the last bin of non-mushrooms got emptied out. Well... do y'all remember me buying so many? Because I really don't. But I like them, so it works out in the end. This is how we've been making them. It's quite nice and requires nearly no effort from me (so little effort that I threw this together after getting home from work at almost 3am). For all my vegan and vegetarian friends, just use a bit of oil in place of the bacon and it's perfect for you. Hope you enjoy!

1 can cooked black eyed peas (I'm cooking mine from dry, but the amounts are about the same)
3 pieces bacon, cut up
1/2 small red onion, sliced
2-3 tablespoons pickle juice (or other brine, or even lemon juice)
1 tablespoon harissa
1 tablespoon or so tomato paste
salt and pepper to taste
pinch garlic powder

1 3/4 cups water
salt
1 cup rice

Cook your rice. Y'all know how to do this, I'm sure, without me telling you yet again. Put the bacon in a frying pan and fry it. When it's nearly done (I like mine to be a bit soft so it's almost like those long simmered bean yummies with the bacon and salt pork in them), add in the onions, the harissa, garlic, tomato paste, salt, pepper and pickle juice and cook for a few minutes more. Add in the beans and cook a bit more, then add in your rice when it's done and toss to combine well. Serves 2.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Sunday Storage

This week was pretty straightforward. From the stores, came:

tea
more rice (we're almost out of white rice!)
more canned goods, mainly tomatoes
pasta
fruitcake (there are only two bites left, which will be gone by the time y'all see this)
sesame oil
most of the olive oil (it doesn't help, probably, that I use olive oil as lotion. Or maybe it does help - depends on your perspective I suppose)

And something else went into storage (though it's in the freezer):

Pumpkin. I had a big pumpkin, which was cut and roasted. The seeds also were seasoned and roasted, and the strings from the inside, along with some of the pulp, went into making pumpkin butter (mostly this got canned, but I left some in a jar in the fridge for R). The remainder of the pumpkin simply got pureed and then portioned and put into bags. I'll be buying one more pumpkin, which I will peel and cube, then freeze the cubes raw so I can cook them in any fashion I wish throughout the year. I'm hoping that two pumpkins will suffice for the year, but if not then I suppose we just won't get anymore pumpkin until they're growing and in the stores again.

Also, it turns out that we've gone through so much rice, pasta and beans that I  have eliminated the last of the massive storage containers. There's still the big bin of seaweed and mushrooms, and there's still the extra spices bin, but that mostly contains extra spices and chocolate chips of assorted types now. So this is good. There's enough pasta remaining that I've got probably 10 pounds max in a little drawer of the closet instead of all in the pantry, and also there're still roughly 6-8 pounds of beans sitting in a little drawer as well. But all the big bins are gone.

This is pretty exciting to me. I wanted to be done with massive amounts of storage by November, and while it's technically not done, it's so close that I'm counting it as something that will basically be accomplished. Once this month closes, I'll probably have a month's worth of food in storage instead of the year+ I used to maintain, and that's really just fine for me until I know what's going to happen after I finish grad school.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Saturday Spending

This week was good, in terms of spending. It appears that no longer will the days of needing nothing really apply to me, since we go through roughly 5 pounds of flour a week (okay, that's a lie. 5 pounds of bread flour; I bake other things that need all-purpose as well, but we don't go through that flour as quickly). As I only buy my bread flour in 5 pound increments, that means a new bag each week is needed. On the upside, since I've started saving a piece of each batch of dough to make the next one with (and can I just say how much I love seeing a bowl of dough sitting on the counter every day, waiting for me to bake it? I love it a lot), I no longer need yeast for our daily bread. This is fabulous, and I enjoy it intensely.

Anyway, here's what was purchased this week:

HEB:

$2.97 - orange juice
$3.59 - bread flour
$2.18 - milk (ew)

total: $8.74

Friday, October 21, 2011

Food Waste Friday

This was a great week. I wasted:

NOTHING!!!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Anasazi Beans and Andouille

Here's the last of the andouille. I think I recently posted something pretty similar, though it was with black beans. This one is along the same lines, but was a little less work (if you can imagine). Hope you enjoy!

2 cups cooked anasazi beans
1 small yellow onion, diced
2 tablespoons olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
1 teaspoon cayenne (use less if you're sensitive to spicy foods)
1/2 teaspoon thyme
15-ounce can tomato sauce
3 1/2 ounces (1/4 package) andouille, sliced thinly
1 tablespoon each: lemon juice, pickle juice

Heat oil in a 10" skillet and add onions and salt and pepper. Fry lightly, and when the onions are beginning to brown a bit, throw in the sausage and fry again for about 5 minutes. Add in remaining ingredients and simmer 30 minutes or however long it takes for everyone to get home for dinner. Serve over rice. Serves 2.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

(Mashed) Potatoes of Awesomeness with Garlic

I'm really into mashed potatoes. Did you guys know this about me? I never really talk about mashed potatoes because I figure y'all know how to make them. But just in case, here's a recipe for them. You will definitely want to modify this to suit your own tastes, as I really, really like garlic and it's reflected in the recipe. Hope you enjoy!

4-5 russet potatoes, peeled (mostly) and chopped up
1 tiny onion, peeled and chopped up
1 head garlic, peeled (I know; you use less if you like; I actually used about a quarter of a cup of the garlic sauce, toum, here instead of freshly peeled garlic)
salt
water

4 ounces (half a container) cream cheese (or sour cream; I had an incident w/ my sour cream that I don't really want to talk about much since it'll gross us all out)
half a stick of butter
salt and pepper to taste
few grates of nutmeg

Boil the first group of ingredients until the potatoes are quite soft. Drain, then add the second group of ingredients together and mash. Serves 2.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Scalloped Potatoes with Andouille

I miss my camera, guys. I can't figure out what state I left it in while I was on vacation, but I know it's definitely not in Texas. Ah well. I'll get another one at some point (R has a camera, but no reader and I have no software on my computer. So there we have it). Instead, I'm just loving on the andouille. Mainly because I had a bunch and usually when I buy it I (as y'all may remember) use it for 2-4 meals. Today is another one. Okay, maybe you wouldn't call this a meal. But I will. It's a meal. Next to some mashed potatoes (holy potato day!), it's filling and a complete meal. If you want to vegetarianize this, just leave out the sausage. Hope you enjoy!

2 large russet potatoes, peeled and sliced very thin (seems like everyone gives you measurements when they tell you how to make them, but those're standards I just can't live up to so I'll just say "very thin")
2 tablespoons toum (alternately, two minced cloves of garlic)
1-ish teaspoon salt
1/4-ish teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1 1/2 cups cream
1 1/2 cups grated swiss cheese
3.5 ounces andouille sausage, diced
1 small shallot, minced
butter or oil

Heat oven to 400F. Butter or oil a 6x9" casserole dish. Combine toum, cream, nutmeg and salt in a small saucepan and heat. Combine sausage and shallots and divide them into thirds. Make a single, overlapping layer of potato slices. Sprinkle with a third of your sausage mixture and a quarter cup of cheese. Top with a couple tablespoons of your heated cream mixture. Repeat this two more times, except the last time, add the remainder of the cheese to the top. Pour the cream mixture over the top, cover and bake 1 hour. Serves 2-4.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Sunday Storage

So what we have here is a failure to communicate. Between my brain and my tummy, anyway. Which basically means my memory of what came out of storage this week is limited at best. Here's my best try, though (and perhaps I'll start writing it down throughout the week so y'all aren't victimised by my shoddy memory anymore):

rice, white (we are down to possibly two litres remaining of this)
black beans
pasta
canned goods
tea
last of the coffee
baking supplies (including a bag of mint chips)

Here's the interesting (and good!) news: we are now down to just one bin for most of the storage, and one bin for mushrooms, seaweed and bonito. This is massive, massive progress. I'm stoked.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Saturday Spending

So.

I didn't go to the store.

Thankfully.

Next week I'll need to, since we're about out of milk and stuff of that nature (btw, it's still weird to me to see milk on the shopping list, when I'm not baking something that needs it). Not eggs though, since we got two dozen last time. I think I need to work out a monthly food budget, but honestly I've been so busy with school stuff (this PB business is a lot more work intensive than I anticipated, though I suppose that's bound to be the case when you've changed fields completely) that I haven't even really thought about what our grocery needs really are and how the budget should reflect that. What do y'all think? There're just two of us, with frequent guests some weeks. I think $100 should suffice. Anyone disagree? How do y'all handle your food budget concerns and planning?

Friday, October 14, 2011

Food Waste Friday

This week was a good week, for the most part. This week, I wasted:

1/4 cup of sour cream (this was actually really disgusting, so ask me no questions)

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Mint Lemonade

I like mint. I like lemonade. I love mint lemonade. That pretty much sums up my thoughts on this recipe, really. But, mint lemonade is for a hot day, when you want to be refreshed by your liquids. Sometimes this is also nice with fresh ginger instead of mint, too. Hope you enjoy!

1 cup mint
3 ounces lemon juice (basically, one and a half lemons is what I juiced)
2-3 tablespoons agave nectar (or simple syrup, if you prefer)
water to fill the blender up to the three cup line

Combine all ingredients in blender and blend until smooth. You may also add ice if you like it that way. Serves 2.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Chicken and Eggplant Oven Stew

I hadn't been feeling well, having just recovered from a kidney infection and then launching into yet another infection. For some reason, this semester has been awful for me in terms of illness. After several weeks of blood tests, medications, CT scans, IVs, etc., most of the foods I've wanted to eat (when I've been able to eat more than a few bites a day) have been related to stews and other comfort foods. I'm just happy that through all this, I've still been able to make food. I don't know that I'd have been able to do so had I not had an amazing sous in the house, R, who has been tremendously helpful and supportive while I get back to being a healthy person.

This stew was the perfect sort of comfort meal. It's healthful and delicious, tasting fresh and wonderful. It's got substance, but isn't heavy, and is one of those stews where there aren't a lot of spices going on so that each ingredient can truly speak for itself instead of hiding behind the homogeny one often sees in stew flavours. And because it's in the oven, it just goes in and you can basically forget about it instead of having to worry about getting off the couch to stir. Hope you enjoy!

8 chicken tenders, cut into 1-2" pieces
3 stalks celery, roughly chopped
bulb garlic
3 carrots, roughly chopped
1 leek, sliced
12 baby eggplants or one large eggplant (if you're using the baby ones, quarter them lengthwise; if you're using a large eggplant, cut them into 1-2" long chunks)
1 can stewed tomatoes
1 tablespoon salt
1 teaspoon freshly grated inger
1/2 teaspoon each: sumac, aleppo pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil

Combine all the ingredients into a large earthenware crock (or other sort of casserole dish). Put in oven, and turn oven to 350F. Let cook one and a half hours. Serves 4-6.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Andouille and Black Bean Stew

This is more of a simmered dish than a stew per se, but I just wasn't really certain how I should name the dish. It's a simple, rustic affair that's easy to make and doesn't take very long. It's got lots of flavour and can easily be modified to fit any sort of flavour profile you might be looking for. As it stands now, it has a vaguely Cajun "feel" to it, although it's not Cajun cuisine by any stretch of the imagination. It also turns out that I have, in fact, lost my camera. I hope I can find it, since I can't afford to go buy a new one right now. Bills and food, and all that. So, still no pictures. I know y'all have very creative imaginations though, so I'm sure you can imagine what each one looks like. Anyway, I hope y'all enjoy this dish!

2 carrots, sliced
1 stalk celery, sliced
2 shallots, sliced
salt
juice of half a lemon
1 can (or 1 1/2 - 2 cups freshly cooked) black beans
7 ounces andouille (this is usually about a half a package)
1-2 tablespoons olive oil
1 14-ounce can diced tomatoes

1 cup rice
2 cups water
salt

Heat the oil in a 10-inch skillet, and add carrots, shallots and celery. Fry for 2 minutes, then add the lemon juice and season with salt, then cook another 5 minutes. Add sausage and fry for 5 minutes more, than add a bit more salt, the black beans and the tomatoes. Simmer, stirring periodically, for 30 minutes.

Put the scraps from the shallots, celery and carrots, along with the rind of the half lemon, in two cups of water. Simmer 30 minutes then strain out all the vegetable scraps. Add salt and rice, bring to a boil and let boil for one minute. Cover and reduce heat and let cook 10 more minutes. Let sit, covered, 15 minutes. Top rice with stew and serve. Serves 2.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Mast-o-Khiar

Okay, so one more dip for you guys. This goes really well on meat, but it's also good on vegetarian foods and just for dipping your bread in. This one is really easy to make as well, and while it's not my absolute favourite of the dips I've been posting lately, it's an important dip and one I feel everyone should know how to make. Hope you enjoy!

1 - 1 1/2 cups thick yogurt (Greek or Arabic)
2 baby cucumbers, peeled and diced
juice of half a lemon
salt and pepper
1/8 cup each: parsley, mint, both chopped

Mix all together. Makes roughly two cups.

Sunday, October 09, 2011

Sunday Storage

This week again, I hadn't used much in the way of storage. But here's what I did use:

pasta
flour, flour, flour (I think we're going through an average of 5 pounds per week)
lots more tea
some bulghur wheat
some canned goods
tons of vanilla extract (this has actually happened over a while, but I forgot to tell y'all)
tons of spices, of course
so much rice. so much rice.

Saturday, October 08, 2011

Saturday Spending

I'd expected to have a light grocery week this week, but I forgot that we needed stuff for camping too. So we ended up getting a LOT of groceries this week. Again. It's starting to look like I'm going to need to put myself back on a standard grocery budget, since all this spending is a bit out of control. Here's what was purchased this week:

Kroger:

$2.59 - canola oil
$1.99 - milk
$3.19 - bread flour
$1.74 - all purpose flour
$2.69 - whole wheat flour
$0.89 - cream of celery soup (for tuna casserole)
$2.98 - 2 cans sweetened condensed milk
$5.98 - 2 pounds butter
$1.78 - graham crackers (for pie)
$2.14 - cream cheese (must. have. lemon. buns)
$2.99 - white chocolate chips (for cookies to make for people who have been very sweet to me lately)
$2.19 - 4 ounces yeast
$3.69 - local honey
$2.79 - heavy cream
$3.38 - soups for while sick
$1.99 - shredded swiss
$1.99 - shredded mozzarella
$7.99 - salami (see? camping food)
$7.99 - good cheese (more camping food)
$3.29 - hubbard squash
$1.49 - vanilla wafers (pie)
$2.49 - triscuits (here we go again)
$1.69 - banana peppers (see?)
$3.49 - 10 pounds potatoes
$3.59 - lemons
$2.49 - limes
$3.59 - kiwi
$2.29 - kosher salt
$2.69 - bottled lemon juice
$4.98 - 2 dozen eggs (wow we're going through tons of these)
$3.88 - big pumpkin

total: $96.93

Friday, October 07, 2011

Food Waste Friday

Once again, I am not perfect on the waste this week. I've had a lot (for me) of waste recently, though I'm not sure how it is I keep managing to have this problem. But, I'll keep working at it. Someday, I may have a waste free existence!

This week I wasted:

1 bell pepper (this is kind of weird, actually. I got this, and 3 days later when I went to use it, it was not looking so great but I was going to use it anyway until I cut it open and found it was full of mold)

Thursday, October 06, 2011

Kofta

Oh, Kofta. The jewel of my eye, truly. Kofta, the lovely grilled meatballs who sometimes define my very existence, is generally the highlight of my week when I eat them. They, like falafel, are so very much my favourite dishes that I unfairly judge every Middle Eastern restaurant by them. If they're excellent, I fall head over heels with the restaurant. If they're not that good, it's unlikely I'll eat there again (which of course means I don't ever get to find out what they actually do well). But there you have it. It occurred to me that I never did tell you how I like to make kofta, and so today is that day. The other bit of happiness is that these are perfect with the toum you know how to make, with tahini sauce, with mast-o-khiar (this recipe will be along sometime soon, but you can use homemade or store-bought tzaziki if you prefer), etc. Kids like them because they're kind of like breadless hamburgers on sticks, and adults love them because they're delicious. They're easy to make and highly adaptable, so please change the spices and such to suit your own personal tastes. I generally serve this with hummus, sauces, fresh pita, raw or grilled tomatoes and raw or grilled onions, plus some tabouleh or whatever other sides I felt like making that day. Hope you enjoy!

1 small yellow onion, peeled and trimmed, then cut into large chunks
1/4 - 1/2 cup each: parsley, mint
salt and pepper to taste (I use kind of a lot, so don't ask about my quantities)
1/2 - 1 full batch kebab spices
1/8 cup bulghur wheat
2 cups water
1 pound ground lamb (if you prefer beef, use that)

Put wheat and water in a bowl and let soak for a half hour. Drain well. In a small blender or food processor, combine onion, herbs, salt, pepper and spice mix. Blend into a paste (alternately, you could use a knife to accomplish this, but prepared to be at it a while). Mix together wheat, meat and onion-herb paste until it's one cohesive unit. Split the mixture into four pieces and make a ball. Thread each ball onto a skewer (or if you're using massive skewers like I am, two per skewer), and then work the mixture out until it looks like a log on the skewer. Grill. Serves 2-4.

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

Cold, Spiced Rice Noodles

I'm always thinking that I want to make spring rolls. Because I do want to make them. Well, I want to make them up until the point I actually start rolling them, anyway. This was born of one of those times. As tends to happen, when I wanted the spring rolls I just made a full package of rice noodles, and when I was tired of rolling, I had a lot of noodles left. This little "salad" is what has come of having too many noodles left and no desire to throw them away or cook them again. It's pretty wonderful, though, and I hope you all enjoy it!

1 package rice or tapioca noodles
water
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1 teaspoon fish sauce
1-2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
1/2 tablespoon bread dipping spice blend (you know the ones you put in olive oil? Those)

Boil water and add noodles. Cook for approximately 8 minutes (or until done). Strain, then rinse with cold water until no longer warm to touch. Mix with the remaining ingredients and serve. Serves 4-8, depending on if this is a meal or a salad.

Tuesday, October 04, 2011

Sarah's Onion Soup

A couple years back, P and I were camping with some friends. We'd split up meals, and one of the days our fellow camper, Sarah, grilled this onion soup. It was a delightful treat, so I asked her for the recipe. Today I share it with you. :) Hope you enjoy!

4 large onions (yellow or white), peeled, with the root end trimmed and the core hollowed out two thirds of the way down the onion
4 beef bouillon cubes (or veggie cubes, for you vegetarians out there)
4 tablespoons butter
water as needed

Insert a bouillon cube, a tablespoon of butter and water to fill into the cavity of each onion. Wrap in foil completely, then grill over high heat (with the grill closed) for one hour. This may also be done in the oven at 400-450F. Open bundles and sprinkle top of cavity with cheese (optional). Serves 4.

Monday, October 03, 2011

Roasted Lamb Shanks

Lamb shanks. Who doesn't love these? Okay, maybe people who don't eat lamb don't love them, but I think to most lamb eaters, shanks are a succulent treat that no one ever wants to make themselves since it takes an ungodly amount of time to do so. This is good weekend food, for those who have jobs. It's a great way to cook lamb during the week for those who work from home (in this list I include you SAHMs and such), students, etc. Be aware it takes a long time, even though most of that time is inactive, and plan accordingly. These are simply made but seem to be devoured quickly. This recipe is for two people, but easily scales up to accommodate more eaters. Hope you enjoy!

1 leek, halved lengthwise and washed, with root end trimmed
4 tiny beets, peeled
2 carrots, cut in half (or you could leave them whole if you prefer)
handful of garlic cloves
1/3 cup pumpkin puree (optional; I just happened to need to use this, so it went in the casserole dish)
8 ounce can tomato sauce
2 lamb shanks (for me, this was about 1 1/4 pounds)
1 tablespoon ras el hanout spice blend
salt
ground black pepper
1 tablespoon or so olive oil
1/2 tablespoon pomegranate molasses
1/4 - 1/2 cup gin (or wine, or broth, or whatever)

Coat a small baking dish with the olive oil. Layer in veggies (excluding the pumpkin, if you're using it, and the tomato sauce), and sprinkle liberally with salt and pepper. Stir together the pumpkin (if using), gin and tomato sauce, then pour it over the veggies. Rub the meat with pomegranate molasses, then coat with spices and liberally season with salt. Nestle the lamb in with the veggies and put in the oven. Turn the oven on to 350F and let it cook for 20 or 30 minutes, then cover the lamb and turn the oven down to 325F. Cook 3 hours, uncovering during the last 20 or so minutes of cooking. Serves two.

Sunday, October 02, 2011

Sunday Storage

This week I've barely used any storage at all. I mean, I'm running out of yeast and once again I'm running out of flour (I'm not really sure how I'm going through between 10-20 pounds of bread flour per month these days, but there it is). Even tea I haven't used much of this week. I guess that last shopping trip has been consuming me (which makes sense, since I really did buy a ton of food) and as a result I've only been dipping into the pantry to make more bread.

Better next week, I hope.

Saturday, October 01, 2011

Saturday Spending

This was a huge grocery week for me. I knew I was needing to replace a couple staples, such as the chick peas, but I didn't think I was going to lose my mind halfway when I went to Phoenicia. I ought to've seen that coming, since I haven't set foot in that store in nearly two months. Plus, with Rosh Hashana needing to be purchased for, I really should not have been terribly surprised by the amount of food I bought this week. So here'll be the surprise for you too. :)

Phoenicia:

$5.69 - ground lamb
$5.43 - lamb shank
$2.49 - wasa rye crisps
$1.50 - pita; 9 loaves (which is weird I bought this since I'd just made pita two days before and intended to make more the next day)
$2.39 - apricot paste (kamruddin)
$1.99 - arabic cucumber pickles
$6.89 - olives
$1.99 - dried basil
$3.63 - gouda
$4.57 - fresh dates
$2.00 - dried marjoram
$3.59 - crystallised ginger
$3.29 - pickled grape leaves
$3.59 - red lentils (2 lb)
$3.59 - puy lentils (2 lb)
$2.49 - chick peas (2 lb)
$2.00 - bay leaves
$2.25 - eggplant
$2.32 - tomatoes
$3.49 - cucumbers
$0.78 - parsley (2 bunches)
$1.99 - leeks
$0.59 - red onions
$2.54 - bulgarian feta
$2.29 - garlic
$1.49 - mint
$1.23 - white onions
$1.31 - sweet onions
$9.80 - quince (yeah, I know. But I make all my quince paste for the year in one shot)
$0.78 - scallions (2 bunches)
$0.48 - green bell pepper
$2.29 - pomegranate
$2.25 - shallots
$1.50 - beets
$0.99 - celery
$0.79 - carrots
$1.49 - dried dates
$2.76 - apples
$0.17 - ginger

total: $100.70