Something a Tad Corny

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Geez, that title itself is pretty darn corny.  But it’s all I’ve got, it’s almost 3pm on the day before Friday, I’m coming off some weird virus and I’m running on roughly two brain cells.  One of them needs to be used for the rest of the work I have to do today.  That leaves one loner for a blog title.IMG_0493

Summer is the season for corn and tomatoes.  Which means it’s the time of year to leave the canned stuff on the shelf.  Corn fresh off of the cob cannot be substituted for by its cousins in the canned and freezer departments. 

The warmest season of the year is also prime time for pesto-makin’.  But this won’t be your average pesto.  I think you’ll love this tweak on an old favorite.

 Fettuccine with Bacon and Corn Pesto

adapted from epicurious

IMG_04784 slices bacon, cut into 1” pieces

2 ears corn, kernels cut off (<—like so)

1 large garlic clove, minced

1 1/2 cup grape tomatoes, halved

1 1/4 tsp coarse salt

freshly ground pepper

1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese, plus more for serving

1/3 cup pine nuts, toasted (simply put in oven or toaster oven on lined baking sheet for 7-9 minutes on 350 degrees)

1/3 cup olive oil


3/4 cup basil leaves


Cook bacon in large nonstick skillet over medium heat until crisp and brown, stirring often. Using slotted spoon, transfer to paper towels to drain. Pour off all but 1 tablespoon drippings from skillet. Add corn, garlic, tomatoes, 1 1/4 teaspoons coarse salt, and 3/4 teaspoon pepper to drippings in skillet. Sauté over medium-high heat until corn is just tender but not brown, about 4 minutes. Transfer 1 1/2 cups IMG_0490 corn kernels to small bowl and reserve. Scrape remaining corn mixture into processor. Add 1/2 cup Parmesan and pine nuts. With machine running, add olive oil through feed tube and blend until pesto is almost smooth. Set pesto aside.

Cook pasta in large pot of boiling salted water until just tender but still firm to bite, stirring occasionally. Drain, reserving 1 1/2 cups pasta cooking liquid. Return pasta to pot. Add corn pesto, reserved corn kernels, and 1/2 cup basil leaves. Toss pasta mixture over medium heat until warmed through, adding reserved pasta cooking liquid by 1/4 cupfuls to thin to desired consistency, 2 to 3 minutes. Season pasta to taste with salt and pepper.

Transfer pasta to large shallow bowl. Sprinkle with remaining 1/4 cup basil leaves and reserved bacon. Serve pasta, passing additional grated Parmesan alongside.

~ Side note:  I’m giggling every few hours because I’m wearing this t-shirt.

25 Books in 2010

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

This challenge is going to be a cinch.  And if you think you don’t have the time (no big…reduce your goal, just don’t tell anyone else that I’m advocating for you to be an underachiever), reduce the goal.  But if you used to harbor a love of reading and getting lost in a story and post-college and just plain life have made you forget, having a goal like this will make you rediscover it.

Or maybe it will just help your general spelling and grammar.

I’ve read these thus far….here are my latest:

midwives 1.  Midwives.  I’ll be brutally honest.  I couldn’t even finish this book, it was that awful.  I’ve learned that just because a piece of literature is recommended by several people doesn’t mean it’s good.  Or maybe I just have bad taste.

Yeah, right.  Maybe Oprah’s the one with the bad taste, because she’s her people are the ones GWTDTwho recommended it.

2.  Girl with the Dragon Tattoo .  Remember all that stuff I said up there about various recommendations meaning nothing?  Yeah, ignore that for a few minutes.  This book is epic.  And graphic.  And completely creeped me out.  All of the reasons I watch Dateline, 48 Hours and 20/20 a lot.  The storyline is pure genius and I can’t wait to read the other two in the trilogy.

LB 3.  Little Bee.  Ok, now you can bring back the distant memory of me casting aside books that had received many recommendations.  This book is rotten.  I finished this one, though, I’ll have you know.  While the true story of Nigerian oil wars could have made a true impact in this book, instead, it’s filled with horrifically unrealistic situations and baseless characters.  I had high hopes.  They weren’t met.

Well, crud.  I just realized I’m only up to 10 books?!  I have to read 15 more within the next four months, apparently.  Ok.  We can do this.

By the way, I get most of my books on Amazon used and I refuse to pay over $5.00.  Additionally, your local library is a great resource…and free.  (I totally should go to heaven for that one).

Enchiladas En Un Jiffy

How do you like that for some Spanish?  You’d never know I was in a Spanish honors program in both high school and college, would you?

It’s 4pm on a Wednesday and I’m sitting in my apartment watching recorded Project Runway in my pajamas.  How in the world does one get the flu in SUMMER?  More importantly, why can’t Gretchen just shut her danged, high-horse mouth?

Back to the fabulous enchiladas (if I do say so myself.  And I do.).  I go back and forth between calling these my Christmas Enchiladas because they’re made with red and green sauces.  But then I realize how dumb that sounds and I stop.

These cheesy delights are only about 30 minutes of work and will please the masses.  Unless they’re lactose intolerant.  FYI.  You’ll make your own enchilada sauce (don’t get scurred!) and do some dipping, stuffing and rolling, so suit up! 

Christmas Weeknight Enchiladas

1 lb ground turkey

Olive oil

1/4 cup chili powder

1/4 tsp of the following:  cumin, onion powder and garlic powder (or you can finely chop a couple of fresh cloves, my personal preference)

Green onions (a bunch)

salt and pepper

1 cup water


Mexican blend cheese

El Pato Mexican Sauce (red sauce)

Green Chile Enchilada Sauce


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Mix water, chili powder, cumin, onion powder and garlic powder.  Set aside.  Chop green onions.  Brown turkey in 1 tb olive oil, adding in spice mixture as you go.  Season with salt and pepper.

Meanwhile, pour red sauce onto a large plate.  Dip each tortilla into sauce, covering completely.  Add meat mixture inside tortilla, cheese, chopped green onion.  Wrap tortilla and place in glass baking dish.

When done wrapping, cover enchiladas with more of your cheese blend.  Then pour green chile sauce over all enchiladas.  Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes.

The Next Time You're in Waikiki...

Monday, August 30, 2010

I'll be honest...I'm not really a warm, white sand beach girl. I prefer big cities, mountains and a colder, rockier coast line. Watching mass amounts of tourists squeeze themselves into bathing suits that are inevitably the wrong size or drunkards walking around in sagging board shorts gulping Bud Light isn't my thing. I'd much rather relax fireside in Bodega Bay or engage in broken-English fights with taxi drivers in Paris or New York City. It's now Monday and all I can think about is the fact that it's 10am in Waikiki and we'd most likely be lounging in a chaise near the aquamarine water, sipping mango sodas (I just peed myself. I LURVED these sodas and it looks like they're available at Nugget Foods. Be still my cold, dead heart). To keep myself sane, I decided to do a blog post on things I think you must do if you're going to Waikiki. And, I know stuff, so trust me. Diamond Head Crater. Want a gorgeous, 360-degree view of Honolulu? Do this. It's a hike, but it is easy. We saw people of the older ilk and approximately 432 women wearing some type of wedge heel walking up steep flights of stairs (WTH. Why would you do that?! Same people who walked around downtown Honolulu in their bathing suits only. Save it for the beach and pool, people. Sigh, my mama just taught me right.). Moana Surfrider Hotel. This hotel (the oldest in Hawaii, dating back to 1909), had "Faith" written all. over. it. Gorgeous plantation-style architecture, open-air lobby, on-site Honolulu Roasting Company (DO IT. If you go to Starbucks in downtown Waikiki, I'll personally hunt you down) and...wait for it...lovely, comfortable, wooden rocking chairs on the front patio! No words. Moana also housed my favorite beach bar. One mai tai brought the boyfriend down. Those homies do not mess around with their rum drinks. The Moana is pricey (naturally. Things I love always are. Eyeroll.), but well worth it. Two words: mango daquiri.

Hanauma Bay. This is THE place to snorkel. Just watch out for the kiddies, because you know what they're doing in that warm water. You'll watch a great nine-minute video pre-snorkel that will teach you about the coral and wildlife. My tip is to grab water and snacks at the top of the hill before you go down to the water. That hill ain't no joke, you will not want to traipse back up it for something to drink. I never found Nemo (where IS that freaking clown fish?!), but you'll see tons of beautiful, colorful fish. Another tip is to BYOU. Bring your own umbrella, shade is hard to come by at Hanauma Bay.

LOST. Fan of the ABC show? If you aren't, why the hell aren't you? That show is epic. Netflix it now. Visiting the filming sites was amazing, and I'm not afraid to admit that I was half hoping the smoke monster would fly right out of the mountains. Judge away. You can freely access The Others' Camp, which is a still-used YMCA campground. I totally felt Ben Linus' "Am I evil or am I not evil?" presence lurking. Mmmhm. Next we hit Police Beach, site of the survivors' camp. Visit this site to get driving directions, it can be tricky. Bonus: Tim and I saw at least eight enormous sea turtles at that beach...they were sunning themselves and eating before setting out for....well, whatever they do.

Eat at Taormina Sicilian Cuisine. It's mere blocks from the major Waikiki hotels and not only is the service attentive and nice, but I had the best lasagna of my LIFE here. LIFE, people. Bleu cheese and bolognese lasagna.

Drink Coffee at a Honolulu Coffee Roasting Company. The one in the Moana Surfrider had exceptional service and they use kona coffee (DEE.LICIOUS) alongside their fresh pastries and bagels. And they make acai bowls. Get on that, California.

Eat a leisurely breakfast at the Royal Hawaiian. Their egg white omelet was to die for and they offer four flavors of tropical jam with their toast! It's the little things, people. Warning: everything here is pink.

Summer Denial

Monday, August 23, 2010

Before I start whining about my hatred of Sacramento summers, I'll preface this by saying that this might be the most mild summer season I've ever experienced here. I'm not sure it's gotten over 100-degrees here in three months. It's usually 128-degrees in August. Ok, that's a ridiculous overstatement, but I just roll like that. So, on a summer evening with the thermometer kicking in at 68 degrees, I'm in the mood for some soup. What of it? And, tomatoes taste better in the summer, so I suggest you roll with this, too. Dee-licious Tomato Soup (alongside my award-winning grilled cheese. Because, why would you eat tomato soup without grilled cheese, you weirdo?) Serves roughly 6ish. Or 3 hungry peeps. 3 tablespoons good olive oil 1 1/2 cups chopped red onions (2 onions) 2 carrots, unpeeled and chopped 1 tablespoon minced garlic (3 cloves) 4 pounds vine-ripened tomatoes, coarsely chopped (5 large) 1 1/2 teaspoons sugar 1 tablespoon tomato paste 1/4 cup packed chopped fresh basil leaves, plus julienned basil leaves, for garnish 3 cups chicken stock, preferably homemade 1 tablespoon kosher salt 2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper 3/4 cup heavy cream Heat the olive oil in a large, heavy-bottomed pot over medium-low heat. Add the onions and carrots and saute for about 10 minutes, until very tender. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add the tomatoes, sugar, tomato paste, basil, chicken stock, salt, and pepper and stir well. Bring the soup to a boil, lower the heat, and simmer, uncovered, for 30 to 40 minutes, until the tomatoes are very tender. Add the cream to the soup and process it through a food mill into a bowl, discarding only the dry pulp that's left. Reheat the soup over low heat just until hot and serve with julienned basil leaves.

Homemade Granola With a Healthy Twist

Saturday, August 14, 2010

I have it on good authority (mine) that you will likely never buy granola again after making your own. Not only is it easier than I'm guessing most of you think, but it's heartening to know exactly what is going into your food - and being able to pronounce it.

Granola has generally been denounced in the health food world due to most companies filling it with truckloads of sugar. The other problem is that it's expensive. Why oats covered in sugary binding agents cost so much is beyond me. But there's a skirt around the issue: Double Coconut Granola.

I made this batch as a gift for my colleague who just announced her pregnancy. Buy some Ball Jars at your local hardware store (totally inexpensive, woot!), some cute wrapping accessories and you'll be on your way to easy gifts. Or eat it yourself. Or shoot, do both and call it a day.

Double Coconut Granola
courtesy of Opera Girl

6 C. rolled oats
1 2/3 C. unsweetened shredded coconut
1/2 C. honey
1/3 C. coconut oil
1 Tbsp. vanilla extract
1 tsp. kosher salt

1. Heat oven to 300F.
2. In a large bowl, combine oats and shredded coconut.
3. In a small saucepan, cook honey, coconut oil, vanilla, and salt over medium heat until the mixture just begins to simmer.
4. Pour honey/oil mixture over oats and coconut flakes, and stir with a wooden spoon until well combined.

5. Spread out granola on a baking sheet. Place in oven, bake for 10 minutes, then stir granola. Repeat until granola is well-toasted — this took me four stirs, or 40 minutes total cooking time.
6. Cool on baking sheet, stirring occasionally. When cooled, store in airtight containers for up to 2 weeks. Can refrigerate or freeze for longer shelf life.

Sloppy Janes

Monday, August 2, 2010

Oh, lentils. How tasteless and disgusting I once thought you were. A key player in the one and only bad recipe my father made in my youth - the dreaded lentil stew. But look at you shine now! You're a star! Everyone loves you!

Actually, I'm sad to say, dear lentils, that I'm afraid not many know your multiple personalities. For instance, I bet it will come as quite the surprise to many that their beefy sloppy joes can be transformed into vegan beauties, enjoyed even by those who cringe in fear when the word "vegan" is uttered (you should see the boyfriend's eyes widen. It makes me giggle.)

These bad girls are tasty. Sure, you may miss the beef. My goal isn't to make things that are vegan taste exactly like their meaty counterparts, but instead, when I make a vegan dish, it's to enjoy a good alternative to a favorite, with major health benefits on the side.
Here's what you'll need:

Vegan Sloppy Joes
courtesy Post Punk Kitchen

  • 1 cup uncooked lentil
  • 4 cups water
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced small
  • 1 green pepper, diced small
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 Tablespoons chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons oregano
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 8 oz can tomato sauce
  • 1/4 cup tomato paste
  • 3 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon yellow mustard (wet mustard)
  • 4 to 6 whole grain hamburger buns.
Put the lentils in a small sauce pot and pour in 4 cups water. Cover and bring to a boil. Once boiling, lower heat and simmer for about 20 minutes, until lentils are soft. Drain and set aside.

Add the cooked lentils, the chili powder, oregano and salt and mix. Add the tomato sauce and tomato paste. Cook for about 10 minutes. Add the maple syrup and mustard and heat through.Turn the heat off and let sit for about 10 minutes, so that the flavors can meld, or go ahead and eat immediately if you can't wait.

One Mean, But Clean Burrito

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

For the life of me, I cannot figure out what is wrong with my camera. The pictures I take turn out bright white and overexposed. Not good for food photos. If you have suggestions, please email me.

Another bummer? After a glorious 9-mile run last Saturday, I seem to have royally pissed off my IT band. Which appears to be necessary for running. Oh, and walking. Someone called me Quasimoto today. Lovingly...but still.

So while I wait for my old, exercise-driven self to come back, I'm eating even healthier than usual. I'm cutting out most dairy and pasta and sticking to fruits and vegetable bases. Luckily, with this burrito, I don't have to sacrifice taste. To vegan-ize this recipe, replace the sour cream with tofu cream.

Clean, Mean Burrito (makes 1 burrito)
adapted from The Kind Diet

Whole wheat wrap (easy to find in the tortilla section)
1/2 cup cooked brown rice
1/2 cup pinto beans, cooked (just use the canned ones, perfectly acceptable)
2 TB fresh cilantro
Chopped scallions, cucumber, avocado, tomatoes
1 Tsp fat free sour cream, or tofu cream

Mix ingredients and wrap 'em up. Add about 1 Tb of cheese if you want. It's that easy, it's that tasty, and it's that healthy. I served mine with a side of strawberries and raisins.

I bet you're dying to know what I'm currently chowing down for dessert. Glad you inquired! I recently made a trip to My Tea Shelf's online tea boutique to order a few ounces of loose leaf tea. Just to try out. I'm impressed! With flavors like "Sol y Luna," vanilla coconut and "Mango Marshmallow," it would be nearly impossible not to find something you like. With my "Cocoda," I'm munching on Dr. Lucy's Sugar Cookies.

Deep Dish Polenta Pizza: A One-Pot Wonder!

Monday, March 29, 2010

I don't know about you, but following a full day of work (and usually some meeting, outing or exercise class thereafter), cooking can seem like a tremendous chore. Granted, making food generally acts as a therapeutic hobby for me, but there are days when picking up a phone and ordering a house chow mein is tempting.

Don't get me wrong: I have Shanghai Garden on speed-dial.

This polenta pizza will take less time than it would take a delivery man to get to your door, and the preparation is easy, too. You can variate it by adding your favorite pizza toppings. Deee-licious.

Deep Dish Polenta Pizza
adapted from Real Simple

1 tablespoon olive oil, plus more for the pan
1 cup polenta (not instant)
1/4 cup grated Parmesan
Kosher salt and black pepper
1 cup fresh spinach
1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes, thinly sliced
1 clove garlic, minced garlic
4 ounces mozzarella, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1/2 lb pork sausage, italian style

1. Heat oven to 400° F. Oil a 9-inch springform pan or pie plate; set aside.

2. Brown sausage. Drain, set aside.

2. In a medium saucepan, bring 2¼ cups water to a boil. Whisking constantly, slowly add the polenta. Reduce heat to low and cook, stirring, until the polenta starts to pull away from the side of the pan, 4 to 5 minutes. Stir in the Parmesan, ½ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper.

3. Using a spoon, spread the polenta over the bottom and up the sides of the prepared pan.
In a bowl, combine the spinach, tomatoes, garlic, mozzarella, the remaining tablespoon of oil, and ¼ teaspoon each salt and pepper. Spoon the mixture over the polenta and bake until the polenta is crisp around the edges, 25 to 30 minutes.

Book Update

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

This 25 Books in a Year thing is going to be easy-peasy.

1. The Help: go and buy/rent/check-out/sell your vital organs for this book.

2. Cleaving: throw it in the trash, preferrably the one you use for your meat scraps.

3. Sarah's Key: great storyline, a tad juvenile. Read it if you're 15 years old.

4. The Art of Racing in the Rain: the author does an outstanding job of narrating from a dog's perspective. Sure, as if I would know, but still.

"What? I Totally Paused." And I Come to a Screeching Halt for this Eggplant Chana Masala

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

In 1995, while sitting in my friend, Tanya's, basement on her 15th birthday, eating Sugar Daddies, flirting with the nerdy band geek who wore wingtips and watching Clueless, the last thing on my sugar-buzzed brain was that Cher Horowitz would create a vegan cookbook 13 years later.

And Alicia Silverstone has come up with a good one, at that. And biznatch looks even prettier AND younger than she did in the Aerosmith video!

I'm not Indian food's biggest fan. It lost me at yellow curry. However, this dish is wicked easy to make and the addition of cumin, garlic and eggplant, you may jump on board, too.

Eggplant Chana Masala
courtesy of The Kind Diet

1 1/2 large onions, roughly chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 Tb olive oil
1/2 tsp. curry powder
1 tsp cumin
1 eggplant, peeled and chopped into 1/2" pieces
1 (15 0z) can chickpeas, drained
1 can peeled tomatoes, drained
1 can vegetarian chili (I used Amy's)
1 handful chopped fresh cilantro

1. Saute the onions and garlic with the oil, curry powder and cumin in a large pot until onions are soft or translucent. Add eggplant, saute for five minutes longer until lightly browned.
2. Add chickpeas, tomatoes and chili, simmer for 20-30 minutes. It will reduce to a thick, stewy chana masala. Add more spice to taste and top with cilantro.

This serves roughly 3-4. Serve over brown rice with pita bread!

Brown Rice Krispie Treats: Why Didn't I Think of This?!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

By now you're probably wondering if I Pray to Gouda has turned into some weird, hippie health blog. You wonder if another, "Dang, that cheesy wonder looks amazing, I can't wait to make that" dish will appear on a blog originally dedicated to my love of God's gift from cows.

Fear not. I will whip up artery-clogging life-shorteners soon enough. I mean, shoot - I ate onion rings and chocolate chip cookies for dinner tonight. (Judge not, my friend.) But - at this venture, I'm busy introducing as many healthy products and wholesome alternatives into my life so that the not-so-wholesome foods will compliment my diet rather than fully comprise it.

Ya get what I'm throwin' down, yo?

Here's my promise, though: I love food. More than a lot of people. So I'm never going to put a recipe on here that I don't find absolutely deeelicious and think you should try, too.

On that note, introduce some wholesomeness into your life via the new and improved rice krispie treat.

Brown Rice Krispie Treats
whipped up by my bud, Jennifer

3 Tb vegan margarine (such as Earth Balance) - if you don't want to go vegan, use regular butta'.

1 package Dandie's Vegan Vanilla Marshmallows (yums. I swear.)

6 cups brown rice crisps cereal (we used Barbara's. Love that lady.)

Melt butter in a large saucepan over low heat. Stir in marshmallows. Add in rice crisps and stir until coated. Using wax paper or a greased spatula, press this mixture into a 9x13 baking dish. Cool, cut and nosh.

Super-Charge Me Cookies!

Oh, they live up to their name, too. Even the boyfriend, Mr. I-Only-Love-Butter-Filled-Chocolate-Chip-Cookies agreed that they were "good for a healthy cookie."

Folks, these are just plain good, regardless of whether you're trying to be healthy or not. No butter (replaced with all-natural peanut butter and a bit of canola oil). No white sugar (used 100% maple syrup, instead). If you have kids (or if you're a kid at heart), these are an awesome alternative to a sugar and artificial ingredient-laden cookie.

The Super-Charge Me cookie is filled with nutrition: spelt flour* (the "grandfather" grain to wheat; huge source of protein, B2, manganese and a crapload of other good stuff); dried cherries, unsweetened coconut and flax. I used dark chocolate chips, but you can use carob chips or milk chocolate and then add whatever dried fruit your cute little heart desires.

Warning: you're gonna eat a whole lot o'these.

Super-Charge Me Cookies
modifed from the original at Eat, Drink and Be Vegan
Makes 11-15 cookies

1 cup quick oats
2/3 cup spelt flour
1/4 tsp (rounded) sea salt
1/8tsp cinnamon
1/8 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
1/4 dried cherries
5 Tb carob or chocolate chips (optional; or use more dried fruit, nuts, or seeds)
1 tsp baking powder
1/3 cup flax meal (not flax seed)
1/2 cup pure maple syrup
3 tbsp peanut butter (no sugar added!)
1 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
2 tbsp organic canola oil

Preheat oven to 350°F.

In a bowl, combine oats, flour, salt, cinnamon, coconut, cherries, and carob or chocolate chips, sift in baking powder, and stir until well combined.

In a separate bowl, combine flax meal, syrup, peanut butter butter, and vanilla and stir until well combined. Stir in oil. Add wet mixture to dry, and stir until just well combined (do not overmix). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Spoon batter onto baking sheet evenly space apart, and lightly flatten. Bake for 13 minutes (no longer, or they will dry out). Remove from oven and let cool on baking sheet for 1 minute (no longer), then transfer to a cooling rack.

*Spelt flour can be found at Whole Foods and Nugget Stores. Or any health food store.

Must Try It: Two Leaves and a Bud Green Tea

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

I'm not green tea's biggest fan. I find it bitter and akin to the taste of dirt. I'll admit right here, right now that I used to eat ants when I was child, but that was mere practice for future, adventurous culinary endeavors. By the way, those little bastards will bite (who wouldn't if they knew they were about to take a wee journey to the Land of Stomach Acid?).

Back to my original point, drinking this Japanese brew has always been a chore, but the various benefits associated with it (potential cancer-fighter, antioxidant-rich) kept drawing me back. Shoot, it claims to stave off dementia. I feel like I'm headed down that road five out of the seven days of the week - why not keep my sanity a bit longer?
Two Leaves and a Bud's Orange Sencha Green Tea is much less bitter and has a touch of citrus. Plus, their web site is cool. And really, that stuff matters.

Letting Oats Have Their Privacy

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

You know what I need? This. I'm over my point and shoot camera when it comes to taking food pictures. And as my thirtieth birthday is fast approaching (WOOT!), I think I can finagle one - or at least donations via loving family members (hi, Mom!). Until then, we're all just gonna have to deal.

Do you love oatmeal? I bet it loves you back. But what I really bet is that it would sometimes just love to have a little, eh hem...alone time...with all of the other goodies you add to it. I mean, if they're going to have to mix and mingle into your morning meal, why not let them get acquainted first?

Creamy Overnight Oats

1/2 cup oats
1/2 cup water
1/3 cup greek yogurt
1/2 banana, microwaved for 20 seconds to get gooey and caramelized
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 packet Stevia

Put these ingredients into a bowl. Stir. Stick in your refrigerator. Wake up. Heat 45 seconds. Eat. I like to add fresh berries in the morning to get some extra antioxidants in.

25 Books in 2010

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Because, really, I don't have enough to do, right?

But I actually enjoy reading. Call me a nerd, but I look forward to that last half-hour prior to passing out at midnight (that New Year's Resolution about going to bed earlier is really not working in my favor) when I snuggle up in bed with a good book and shut out the world.

Luckily, I'm already one down, twenty-four to go. And I highly recommend the book I just polished off,
The Help. Up next? Sarah's Key.

Here's to more novel-reading, and less reality TV in 2010.

Who am I kidding. I can fit in both!

A Faith-Style Welcome Wagon: Shrimp Risotto with Chive Gremolata

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Sounds fancy and difficult, no? It's fancy, but with some time and a cold glass of Chardonnay, this dish is easy to whip up on a weeknight. I had a few girls over last week to welcome Meaghan, my new, fabulous next-door neighbor, and Lindsay, a friend I met in boot camp who just moved in around the corner, to the 'hood.

I swear, I'm never moving off this street. I'm surrounded by cool people. It's like a Fun Person Commune right in the heart of Sacramento. Only we shave our armpits and go to work everyday.

Don't be afraid of the fact that this requires making your own stock! Easy as 1-2-3 (or 1-2-4, as Dick Clark might say) (oh, yes I did) and tasty as all get-out.

Shrimp Risotto with Chive Gremolata

adapted from Cuisine at Home

For the Shrimp Stock-
1 lb. medium shrimp (just buy it cooked)
2 cups water
1½ cups chicken broth
1 cup chopped leek greens (tops)
9 black peppercorns
4 fresh parsley sprigs
2 bay leaves

For the Risotto-
2 Tbsp. unsalted butter
1 cup chopped leeks
1 cup Arborio rice
¾ cup dry sherry
1 cup frozen peas
1 tsp. kosher salt
¼ tsp. cayenne pepper
½ tsp. ground nutmeg
2 Tbsp. unsalted butter
2 Tbsp. grated Parmesan cheese

Separate shrimp meat from tails; set shrimp aside. Place tail shells and remaining stock ingredients in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer stock for 10 minutes. Strain stock through a colander into a bowl; discard solids. Return stock to saucepan over low heat.

Melt 2 Tbsp. butter in a sauté pan over medium heat. Add leeks; sauté 2 minutes, then stir in rice and sauté 2 minutes. Do not allow rice or leeks to brown.

Deglaze pan with sherry, stirring frequently until liquid evaporates. Add ½ cup at a time until all stock is used and rice is tender, 20-25 minutes.

Stir in the peas and shrimp and cook until shrimp are pink and firm, about 5 minutes. Season risotto with salt, cayenne and nutmeg.

Off heat, add butter and Parmesan. Garnish with Chive Gremolata (see recipe below).

.:. Chive Gremolata .:. - yum. Do not skip this. For that matter, don't ever skip anything with bacon it it, fool.

3 strips thick-sliced bacon, diced
2 Tbsp. snipped fresh chives
2 Tbsp. minced lemon zest
½ tsp. minced garlic
Salt to taste

Popeye Has Nothing on Me: Introducing the Green Monster

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Many of you may scoff at my new 3x/week breakfast. Some of you may even get that twingey, my-lunch-is-about-to-make-a-reappearance feeling in your throat. I'm imagining, however, that if you read food blogs, you're open to trying new stuff. And by new stuff, I'm straight up talking about my latest obsession, The Green Monster.

I'm going to make you a quick promise here: YOU WON'T TASTE THE SPINACH IN THIS!

Try it. Just once. Not only do these taste great like whoa, their nutritional value is off the charts. I did the math (doozie. I need to stick to writing from here on out, peeps), and you're looking at 371 calories and 35 grams of fat, which as a breakfast in the morning will easily be burned off throughout your day. Most of the fat grams are obtained from the flax meal, but the benefits far outweigh the fat content - flax is seriously chock FULL of omega-3s and lignans (fight that cancer, baby). It has a nutty flavor that calms down the spinach and leaves your tastebuds happy.

The Original Green Monster

2 cups fresh spinach
1-1.25 cups milk (your choice of cow’s milk, soy, hemp, almond, rice, etc)
1 tablespoon flax (optional)
1 banana
frozen peaches

The order in which you place the ingredients in the blender is important! Putting in the flax and spinach first will ensure that the rest of the ingredients weigh these two superpowers down so they don't fly all over the dang place inside your blender. So stick those in first, then cut up the banana into the machine, add your milk and then your frozen fruit of choice. Blend, baby. Blend.

Side note: I used frozen peaches for my first Green Monster. This morning, I chose blueberries (wicked good.) Feel free to go crazy, as long as you either use a frozen fruit or ice. This thingamabobber tastes far better cold!

Must Try It: A Savory Dressing and a Healthy(ish) Snack

Saturday, January 9, 2010

This starts a new little part of I Pray to Gouda...the "Try It" posts. As I continue on a journey of leading a more healthy lifestyle, I pick up ideas from other blogs or while on a hunt at The Nugget that either to turn out to be really good or damn bad (I'm still trying to put that Tofurkey grossness behind me.

Along with Clif Mojo bars, Vitamin Water , Sandwich Thins and tasty teas, here are two more products I think you just might love. I know my cold, dead heart does. Annie's Shiitake & Sesame Drrssing is organic, lowfat and plain fabulous. I'm hoping to use it as a marinade soon. Two for da price of one, baby!

Popchips? Popchips are A.MAY.ZZIING. Not baked. Not fried. 2010 is all about poppin', baby. I will say that the plain Popchips are a bit salty for me, but I love them regardless. My main problem? I can't find half of their flavors in the stores. I'd love to try the Parmesan, or the Salt and Pepper, or the Cheddar...but even in my California metropolitan city, I can't get my dang hands on the things. Sigh!

How to Thank a Handyman: Hearty Green Chili

When a nice boy comes over to spend a hearty chunk of time unplugging your bathtub drain and doesn't even subject you to the gross, giGANtic clump of hair that led to the problem (seriously, I could have made a new person out of that hairball), you feed him a hearty chili. I doubt you'll find that rule in Emily Post's book of etiquette, but once I come out with my own bestseller, it will undoubtedly be in the first chapter.

The making of this green chili is a tad unconventional, but I have no doubt you'll be amazed by the product. The blended tortilla chips add a salty nuttiness to the chili, thickening it and giving it a unique flavor.

(No, I did not let some random dude in off the street to play plumber and then cook him dinner. That's Tim, the boyfriend. Tim, meet blog followers, blog followers, meet the newest Faith's Kitchen Taste Tester.)

Green Chili
1 quart chicken broth
1-1/4 pounds skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
4 large handfuls tortilla chips, plus more for serving
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/2 bunch scallions, thinly sliced (about 1 cup)
2 teaspoons dried oregano
2 teaspoons ground cumin
One 15-ounce can small red beans, drained
1 cup jarred green salsa

In a deep skillet, bring the chicken broth and chicken breasts to a simmer over medium heat. Reduce the heat slightly and poach the chicken, turning occasionally, until just cooked through, about 10 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the chicken to a plate and let cool.Crumble the 4 handfuls of tortilla chips into a food processor and add 3 cups of the hot broth; let sit to soften. Reserve the remaining 1 cup broth.

In a large saucepan, heat the oil over medium heat and add the scallions, oregano and cumin; cook until the scallions are softened, about 2 minutes. Pour the remaining cup of broth into the scallion mixture, then stir in the beans and salsa and bring to a simmer.
Puree the chips and broth in the food processor until smooth, then whisk the chip mixture into the bean mixture. Shred the chicken, add to the chili and cook over medium-low heat, stirring, until heated through. Serve with extra tortilla chips.