Saturday, February 21, 2009

Lentil Soup

This was my first attempt at making lentils. I have always had a slight fear of them bc they are notorious for being hard to cook and frankly dont really taste like much. However, I must say the soup came out really well AND tasty. Next time I may let it cook longer for a better appearance in the end but despite that I give this dish major props for keeping me full and satisfied through a grueling work week without dabbling into the doughnut box. Makes 8-10 servings.

1 Bag of dried lentils (79c at the Teeter)
1 Onion
2 Pieces of garlic
1 Spicy italian sausage
4-5 cups of chicken stock
2 cups of skim milk

1. Wash and soak lentils in water for 2-3 hours
2. Mince onions and garlic
3. In a large soup pot, saute onions and garlic until aromatic and slightly brown
4. Add low sodium organic roasted chickin stock and bring to a boil (reserve some stock incase soup gets dried out)
5. Drain lentils and throw them in the pot
6. When its boiling again turn it down to a medium simmer
7. Add milk, salt, spices to taste
8. Cont to simmer for 1-2 hours until lentils are tender (stirr occasionally. If you leave it uncovered you might have to add the reserve chicken stock. However, if there is too much liquid you want to let it boil off until the surface of the liquid is at the same level of the lentils. The lentils do sink to the bottom. See photo below)
9. Meanwhile cut the sausage into thin slices and brown in a pan. Blotting the grease off with a paper towel when done.
10. Place a 3-4 pieces of meat on top of the soup right before serving. (Store the soup and meat separately or else the sausage will not retain its nice chrispy texture)

Shrimp and Pea Pesto

I had a tuppy of left over pesto from a prior project so I decided to make a pasta. This actually turned out really well and the peas were not an after thought. They contributed a nice sweet touch to the dish that was rather unexpected.

1 cup of left over pesto sauce
3/4 a box of bowtie pasta
1/2 bag of frozen peas
1 lb of shrimp
grated cheese

1. Boil water for the pasta and cook pasta
2. Clean, peal, and de-vein the shimp
3. Season the shrimp with some salt/pepper and quickly saute in a pan
4. Boil a small pot of water and throw the peas in until they become bright green.
5. When everything is done, drain pasta and peas.
6. Combine all the ingredients together (shrimp, peas, pasta, pesto)
7. Grate fresh parm on top and enjoy.
8. Try with a little squirt of lemon juice.

Friday, February 20, 2009

new favorite recipe sites

Looking forward to trying stuff out from:

Project Foodie

My Recipes (from Mel)

Thursday, February 19, 2009

turkey teriyaki meatballs with edamame and snow peas

Adapted from Real Simple, found at Nutritionista.

1 1/2 cups long-grain rice (used 1)
1 1/4 pounds ground chicken (used 1 lb ground turkey. Next time, I will get dark b/c white was too dry)
2 scallions, chopped (used 3)
2 tablespoons grated fresh ginger
2 tablespoons canola oil (used olive oil)
1/2 pound snow peas, halved crosswise (3 cups) (didn't use as many)
1 cup frozen shelled edamame, thawed
1/2 cup low-sodium soy sauce
2 tablespoons brown sugar

Cook the rice according to the package directions.

Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine the chicken, scallions, and ginger. Shape into 16 meatballs. (I added 2 cloves of garlic).

Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Cook the meatballs, turning, until cooked through, 10 to 12 minutes. Transfer to a plate.

Wipe out the skillet. Heat the remaining oil over medium-high heat. Add the peas and edamame. Cook, tossing, for 2 minutes. Return the meatballs to skillet.

In a small bowl, combine the soy sauce and sugar. Add to the skillet and simmer until slightly thickened, 2 to 3 minutes. Serve over the rice.


Tip: To keep the ground chicken from sticking to your fingers, wet your hands before forming the meatballs.

Yield: Makes 4 servings

parsley and garlic frittata, attempt 1

Remind me to read directions when I's not as bad as when I don't read directions while assembling furniture ("why is there one screw left over? why does this bookshelf act as if it's in Pisa, ready for tourists to pose with it?"), but sometimes I forget major things!

Case in point: I had never cooked a frittata before, so I thought the cooking all happened on the stove. Not quite. I found this recipe on The Kitchn and oohed and aahed at its simplicity of ingredients and preparation. I happily bought parsley, garlic, and feta cheese and woke up one morning this week ready to try it.

Parsley and Garlic Frittata
serves one
4 eggs
1/41/2 cup feta cheese, crumbled
1/41/2 cup Italian parsley, chopped
Salt and pepper
Knob of butter
Olive oil
24 cloves of garlic, slivered

Preheat your broiler. (Oops! I missed this step). Beat the eggs well with a little salt and pepper and stir in the feta and parsley. Melt the butter in a medium skillet with an oven-proof handle. As the butter is melting, drizzle in just a little olive oil. Cook the garlic slowly over medium heat until soft and golden.

Turn the heat to medium high and pour in the eggs. Cook for about four minutes, or until the bottom is set.

This is where I realized that I should have preheated the broiler and gotten a cast iron skillet...the eggs were cooking in a pan that could definitely not be put in the oven.

Put in the oven and broil for another four minutes or until set through and lightly browned on top. Serve immediately.

The picture at the top? Not what it was supposed to look like. It was still good--just more of a scramble than a frittata. I will attempt this again once I get a cast iron skillet.

copykat: cafe europa's mediterranean

If you went to UVA, you likely have had the Mediterranean sandwich from Cafe Europa. Fresh mozzarella, tomato, basil, and olive oil and a baguette fed me on many visits to the Corner. Here's my attempt at copykatting (yes, it's with a k in honor of Kat) the sandwich:

Directions: Cut slices of fresh mozzarella and tomato. Take the stems off the basil leaves. Cut about half of a mini baguette in half and drizzle with olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Layer the fresh mozzarella, tomato and basil on it. Eat!

football pasta sauce

During football season, I like to make spaghetti sauce and meatballs from scratch. I call it football pasta sauce because it takes about one game to finish. I keep the general process the same but change ingredients slightly each time depending on my mood. This iteration involved:

2 links turkey sausage
2 links linguica sausage
meatballs (used Italian panko breadcrumbs, put them in the oven ~20 minutes so they're not as soft as they would be if they were just simmered for three hours)
1/2 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 cans whole tomatoes
1 can tomato paste
garlic powder
dried basil
dried parsley
red pepper flakes

0. Make sure your tv is turned up loud enough to hear the game if you can't see it from the living room. If this game involves the Redskins, stop what you're doing and sit on the couch with a nice cold beverage and go watch! If the game involves the Patriots, leave it on and curse at them while you cook.
1. Saute the garlic in olive oil in a big pot over medium heat for about a minute.
2. Add the onion and saute until soft.
3. Pour in the tomatoes, tomato paste and spices.
4. Bring to a boil and then simmer.
5. In a separate pan, brown the sausage pieces. Put them in the tomato sauce.
6. Put the meatballs in the sauce.
7. Simmer for the rest of the game.

Put over whatever pasta you like (linguine is pictured above). I have a bunch of sauce left (this was made in December, frozen, and brought out after January's red meat ban was over) so I will likely post better pictures of other pastas.

strawberry smoothie

  • Grind up 1/2 cup of oatmeal in a food processor or blender.
  • Add 7-10 frozen strawberries, soy milk, sugar, and vanillla extract.
  • Let it sit for a while so that the strawberries thaw out.
  • Blend until it turns into a smoothie.
I've done strawberry-banana oatmeal smoothies before and liked the color better (it's bright pink). The texture is way too thick though. I may switch back to strawberry-banana, but with some tweaking to ingredient amounts.

Monday, February 16, 2009


I got a shiny new toy (heeHEE!) so to officially break it in I made coleslaw with my own little twist. Note the evenness of the veggies above. Serves 6

1/2 a head of cabbage shredded
1 large carrot (i used 12 baby carrots) shredded
1 big apple shredded
1/4 cup of parsley
the zest and juice of one lemon (dont let any seeds get in!)
1 tbsp of chipotle mayo or regular mayo with some hotsauce
2 tbsp of asian ginger dressing
2 tbsp of red wine vinegar
1 tsp of mustard
1 tsp of salt
1 tsp of pepper
1 tsp of sugar

1. Shred and mix the veggies and fruit
2. Thinly slice the parsley and toss with the veggies
3. Grate in the lemon zest and squeeze the juice in
4. Mix together the remaining ingredients and pour onto the slaw
5. Toss together gently and taste for flavor (add salt or sugar as needed)
6. Let it sit for at least 2 hours in the fridge
7. Take out and drain any access liquid
8. keep chilled and enjoy!

OOoooh action shot...

Sunday, February 15, 2009


This post should explain the reason for the lack of cooking last week. Carlos and I went to MiniBar, the 6-seater bar/restaurants at in the third floor of Jose Andres's Cafe Atlantico in DC. In short two chefs go crazy for about three hours creating 27 exquisite bitesize dishes cooked, assembled, and served in front of you. Its dinner and a show. The technique and style of food is called molecular gastronomy and as a chemist/biologist (hello! its has the word molecule in it!) and foodie in reallife, I was totally in awe. Believe me when I say this shit was The Shit! The following is a photo and caption of each course and btw after eating this insanity it took me a few days and a frozen pizza (at least I topped it with anchovies!) to get back in the saddle.

Our PreDinner Drinks (BloodOrange Obama Vodka some or other and a Mojito)

Course 1: Pisco Sour (served warm with eggwhite frothy stuff)

Course 2: Olive Oil Bon-Bon (the white stuff is powdered vinegar)

Course 3: Beet Tumbleweed (just beautiful)

Course 4: Mojito (in a gel that exploded in your mouth)

Course 5: Bagel and Lox (tasted just like it!)

Course 6: Dragon's Breath Curry Popcorn (made with liquid nitrogen - when you breath out while eating it you look like you're breathing smoke...hah love it)

Course 7: CornBread (it was made of some crazy stuff that evaporated before you got a chance to swallow it)

Course 8: Steamed Bun with Caviar (best caviar I've ever had...from Uraguay and my mom makes those buns at home...very standard chinese breakfast bun, cant complain)

Course 9: Curry Chicken Wing (the middle wing segment was completely intact but had no bones...genius!)

Course 10: BlueCheese Almond (I hate bluecheese so I hate myself for loving it and the cup melted into a almond ice cream)

Course 11: Cotton Candy Eel (shiso was strong but definitely the most dramatic plus cotton candy? yes, please)

Course 12: SunDried Tomato Salad (made of campbells's soup! delicious olive thing and one of my favorite dishes)

Course 13: Zucchini in Textures (some gel, seeds, and a goooood and I dont even like zucchini)

Course 14: Caesar Salad (completely deconstructed which is awesome but it need a big anchovy fillet on top)

Course 15: Parmesan Egg with Migas (the egg looking thing was actually made of cheese with a quail yoke inside)

Course 16: Oyster with Apples and Juniper ( it...nuff said)

Course 17: Guacamole (deconstructed and with tomato sorbet in side and yes those are Fritos on top...awesome)

Course 18: Salmon-Pineapple Ravioli (cooked to perfection)

Course 19: New New England Clam Chowder (wow this was probably my favorite dish, the potato puree was sooo savory and the clams were perfectly steamed)

Course 20: Breaded Cegala with Sea Salad (New Zealand lobster with cute seabean ... seabeans make any seafood better)

Course 21: Philly Cheese Steak (rare kobe beef on top of a drippy cheese filled bread cigar)

PreDessert Course 22: Kumquats and Pumpkin Seed Oil (most beautiful of all the dishes and so delish)

Dessert Course 23: All the Flavors of Tailand (it was spicy, peanutty, banana, lemon grass...basically covered everything)

Dessert Course 24: Frozen Yogurt Honey (made with liquid nitrogen so everything was powdered except for the olive oil around the side...sounds weird but the olive oil made it creamy and reminded me of the mediterranean with the fresh mint)

Dessert Course 25, 26, & 27: Chocolate Covered Corn Nuts, Saffron Gum Drop with Edible Wrapper, & Mango Box (the mango box was my favorite desserts of the night)

Our two personal Chefs of the night. They created all the dished with input from a team of 4 others and Chef Andres (on the TV screen in the background). Could they be more adorable? Didn't think so.