Archive for ‘Quick’

November 23, 2013

Fast & Elegant Gnocchi with Pesto and Warm Balsamic Kale

by cillefish

Fast, yet oh so classy. Just like me. OK, I don’t know what I mean by that; but seriously, this meal combines an old-school, judicious avoidance of overkill with a flavor combination that really pops. Toast a batch of walnuts ahead of time to up that ‘wow’ factor with a simple, fast prep time around 30min.

Feeds: 2

  • 1 14-oz package of gnocchi
  • ~ 2 Tbsp good pesto that’s largely good oil (I use Mt Olive)
  • 1 bunch young kale, de-spined and cut with kitchen scissors to 2-or-3″-square pieces (you can also use a mix of spinach and mild arugula, and omit the microwave step)
  • 1/4 tsp Italian Traditions salt-free Italian spice mix (I highly recommend this mix specifically due to the freshness and depth of flavor)
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1/8 tsp garlic powder (NOT garlic salt – just ground dried garlic)
  • 1/3 c: 2 parts mirin, 1 part balsamic vinegar of Modena
  • scant 1/4 cup toasted walnuts
  • Parmesan Reggiano, shaved with a potato peeler, ~3 Tbsp
  • 1 1/2 twists fresh cracked black pepper per plate

Important: Toasting walnuts takes ~11 to 45 minutes, but you get better results taking the longer approach and toasting entirely on low to medium-low. The hot-and-fast approach tends to turn things from pale to burned too fast for me to save them in time, and the slower option creates a fuller flavor. I keep these on hand and do this in batches of 1/2 cup of finely chopped walnut, stirring every 3 minutes or so.

Note: the spice mix can go either onto the kale or in the sauce. The mix I use lacks the dusty, strawlike consistency of cheaper mixes, but if your mix is tougher and dryer, put it in the sauce with the honey.

Prep:

  1. If you don’t have any toasted walnuts on hand, start with this step first. Raw may be alright but will lack most of the richness and depth of flavor of toasted.
  2. Combine olive oil, garlic powder, mirin and balsamic vinegar in small saucepan on low, and let it warm up. Add honey. Let it sit and reduce by 1/2, stirring or swirling every now and then to prevent the honey from crystallizing and burning. Meanwhile; wash, spin, and scissor kale and place it in a big glass bowl.
  3. When walnuts are toasted, set aside and get water boiling for gnocchi.
  4. When gnocchi is done, sprinkle italian spice on chopped and microwave for about 1min (you want it to reduce volume just slightly and take on a brighter hue, but stay just slightly crunchy and not quite “wilted.”)
  5. Pour warm, reduced balsamic mix into kale, separate into 2 bowls, and top each with matching portion of walnuts and parm. Toss gnocchi with pesto and spoon into sides of bowls. Twist pepper on top and serve!
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February 18, 2012

Sesame Deviled Eggs

by horseradishsauce

You know, “deviled” should have geminate <l>s because the single <l> brings the <i>, /ɪ/, to the front, leading <deviled> to be pronounced [di,vaɪ’ɫd] instead of [dɛ’vɪɫd,]. As you can see, the stress also switches to the second syllable with one <l>.
In other words, it should be “devilled eggs”. Yes. Spell-check put angry red dots beneath it to tell me I’m wrong.

Man, now every time I see “deviled” in this post, I think [di,vaɪ’ɫd] which makes me think of “defiled eggs” instead.

Anyway, as you know, if I’m making food that isn’t a dessert, I’m making it for my, myself and I. We don’t mind crappy presentation as long as it tastes good and makes our tummies smile. We are generally lazy when it comes to feeding ourselves and would rather eat Ants on a Log or trailmix every day for the rest of our lives than spend over 15-20 minutes cooking food. Unless it’s something we can put on a pot and simmer and forget about it and take it off in 8 hours and eat it. We attribute this characteristic to our habit of rising at 0415, working out twice a day, and getting home at about 1900.

Sesame Deviled Eggs

  • 2 hard-boiled eggs
  • 1/2-1 teaspoon fish sauce (add more for more saltiness)
  • 1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
  • roasted sesame seeds
  • freshly-ground black pepper, to taste

If you’re lazy, put the eggs into a bowl or plate and chop them up. Drizzle and sprinkle the other ingredients on top and toss it. Eat it. If you’re not lazy, take out the yolks and mash it with everything else, to taste. Stuff it back inside the albuminoid (while we often call it the albumin, it technically contains albumin, making it an albuminoid). While I recommend putting the seeds inside the yolk mash, you could sprinkle more sesame seeds on top for garnish.

I’ve got a super special awesome Mexican Black Bean Soup I’m making right now. I’ll post the recipe tomorrow as well as some homemade flavored instant oatmeal to bring to work in case you get tired of all the shit that Quaker or the grocery store’s brand put in their packaged ones.

But for now, it’s time to go climb trees in Nashville. Ta-ta.

January 7, 2012

3-Minute Banana Bread or Carrot Cake (Single-serving)

by horseradishsauce

First post-Iraq post!

Today is one of those days where I was planning to go to the gym earlier so I didn’t make lunch—but then I ate a bunch of gummy bears and shopped for furniture online and now it’s 1310 and I need to go buy a mattress. Well, now I want food before I go shopping. I am also procrastinating because I hate shopping for anything.

I went into my kitchen and spotted a brown, overripe banana. If I hadn’t eaten all my oatmeal, I would make oatmeal with a banana and walnuts. Instead, I decided to make a banana and walnut mash of goodness. But no, wait! How about banana bread?! Banana bread it is.

I know everyone’s been posting microwave single-serving desserts for a while now. I think it’s funny everyone “just” discovered that you can make baked things in the microwave. Perhaps they were never up late procrastinating  studying for finals.

This is a quick, sloppy banana bread recipe for the lazy or those in a hurry.

What you need:

  • 1 very ripe banana
  • a handful of walnuts (shelled of course. Unless you like to eat the shells.)
  • about 2 1/2 tblsp whole wheat flour
  • maybe 1/4 tsp baking soda or less.
  • about 1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • two dashes of nutmeg
  • two dashes of allspice
  • about 1/2 cup of water
  • a bowl
  • a fork
  • a microwave

Peel the banana. Put it in the bowl and mash it up. Crumble the walnuts and put them in. Add the dry ingredients. Pour in enough water to make it a little wetter than cookie dough and more viscous than normal banana bread batter.

Cook it in the microwave for 2 minutes. It will be sticky at that point, but I like my banana bread sticky, so I went no further.

Now it’s time to buy a mattress.

I've been eating oatmeal in this bowl for the past 5 days without washing it. Mmmm

It may not look particularly appetizing--but it's a single serving. Nobody's judging your skillz here.

P.S. I made carrot cake the next day.

5-Minute Carrot Cake Ingredients:

  • 2 carrots
  • 3 tblsp Whole wheat flour
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp ground allspice
  • 1 tblsp molasses
  • 1 tblsp honey
  • about 1/2 cup water
  • a handful of walnuts, crumbled

Shred the carrots. Mix the dry ingredients. Mix in the water, molasses and honey. Mix in the carrots and walnuts. Cook for 3 minutes. Consume.

 

October 10, 2011

Curried Rice Salad

by cillefish

Main-course salad with plenty of flavor and fiber. Make sure to let it sit for at least an hour before serving; also excellent the day after. Recipe adapted from the one in Simple Vegetarian Pleasures by Jeanne Lemlin (LOVE this book!) — starred items are my additions. Make the rice a day ahead and undercook slightly.

Curried Rice Salad with Apples and “Smoky” Tofu

For the Tofu (optional)*:

  • 1/2 package tofu, squeezed, drained, and cubed evenly into cubes 1/2″ to 1″
  • 1/3 c olive oil
  • 1 Tsbp toasted sesame oil
  • 1/2 tsp liquid smoke / hickory smoke flavor
  • 1 Tbsp soy sauce

For the Salad:

  • 2 1/2 – 3c cold cooked long-grain brown rice (made from 1 cup rice boiled in 2 cups water; OR use 1 2-cup package pre-cooked microwave-pouch brown rice
  • 1 red-skinned apple (fuji, pink lady, jazz; or gala, red delicious), cut into 1/2″ dice
  • 1/3 c chopped dry roasted peanuts
  • 1 c thawed frozen peas
  • 3 scallions, thinly sliced (or 1 shallot or 1/4 small yellow onion), minced superfine
  • 1/2 jar (about 3 oz) roasted red peppers, chopped finely*
  • 1 sm. or med. Roma tomato, chopped small*
  • 10 snow peas cut into thin strips the short way using kitchen scissors
  • 1/2 to 1 full cup crumbled feta cheese*

The Dressing

  • 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons fresh ginger root (peeled & minced)
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 teaspoons curry powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • Generous season freshly ground pepper
  • 1/4 cup olive oil

(For stronger dressing, use instead: 4 Tbsp lemon, 2 1/2 – 3 tsp ginger root, 3 garlic cloves, 3 tsp curry powder, 1/4 tsp salt, 1/4 to 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper, 1/3c olive oil.

1. For tofu, if using: combine liquid ingredients for tofu in a small bowl and whisk vigorously. Add in tofu cubes, swish around, and let sit 5-30 minutes. Meanwhile, chop other ingredients and heat very-nonstick skillet over medium. Add tofu and remaining liquid ingredients for tofu and brown on each side (turn every few minutes). Set aside.
2. Combine the rice, raisins, apple, peanuts, peas, scallions and snow peas in a large bowl and toss well.
3. Combine all the dressing ingredients in a jar with a tight-fitting lid and shake vigorously. Pour the dressing on the salad and toss to coat well. Add tofu.
4. Chill at least 1 hour or up to 8 hours; bring to room temperature before serving.