Lately, I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about, and shopping for, food. I’ve been to the grocery store more times in the past two or three weeks than I usually would in a month or two, back when I felt satisfied by my larger shopping trips. Here and there, I think: “But you know what would be great, if I had some more tomatoes.” Another trip to the store. Luckily I haven’t spent as much per trip as I do when I’m taking fewer, slightly larger trips.
I hope I’m not becoming obsessed with food. A lot of days it feels like the only thing I get done is planning or making meals. At least half of that time is spent wishing for pizza or burritos. It usually takes a week or two before I absolutely HAVE to satisfy that craving… I’ve frequently made one of my favorite snacks, pizza toast, and it’s sadder cousin, cheesy toast (has no sauce or tomatoes to make it more like pizza).
Today for breakfast (ok, more like brunch) I made a combination of two of my go-to breakfast/lunch/snack foods: cheesy avocado toast. Most people would probably call it an avocado melt, but I like to be different. I spread the bread with avocado, added some chopped green onions and a dash of olive oil, smothered that in cheese, and baked it in the toaster oven until the cheese was perfectly melted and browned. (This mostly happens when I briefly lose track of time; otherwise I often get too impatient to let it brown.) It was very tasty, slightly too hot, but I avoided burning the roof of my mouth! Yay!
Sometimes it feels like food is the only thing in life I can figure out. Everything else is a mess, but as long as I can still make myself something delicious and at least semi-nutritious, I can enjoy a little bit of my day.
Does this happen to you? Tell me, please:
After a certain point, your kitchen sponge just smells, no matter how hard you try. Not really notably. Just enough that you can’t really notice it until you use it, and then your hands smell like sponge. Fucking. Gross. But how often should I reasonably expect to throw away these sponges? I’m not made of sponge-money, you know.
Today I threw together dinner with half of a medium-sized eggplant and a summer squash that was starting to go squishy. I chopped them up and threw them in a baking dish with some grape tomatoes, drizzled (or, more likely, wading) in olive oil and sprinkled liberally with thyme and smoked paprika. After baking for 5-10 minutes I smothered it with shredded mozzarella and then baked it another 5-10 minutes. I don’t know how long it really was. If you do this, just keep an eye on it so you don’t burn the cheese.
When I took it out, the cheese was nice and brown, but not burned. I let it cool a while before trying to serve it, because I’m tired of getting minor burns. When I scooped out a nice big serving, I saw how much oil had pooled at the bottom… could have used a little less. But that’s not really my style.
It wasn’t a fancy or special meal, and it probably would actually be better as a side dish. Still, it was yummy and a low-maintenance alternative to sauteing or stir-frying, my most frequent vegetable modes, which require more attention. I would definitely make this, or rather, some variation of it, again.
Unrelatedly, I still do want to throw away that sponge.
I don’t know how well the word “Media” really fits in as part of the title, but it was so alliterative! …on to the food.
I like sometimes to mix flavors in ways that are a little unconventional, and that other people might not think to do. Who says every part of your meal has to match? It’s just like wearing two different socks or wearing stripes and polka dots together–you can do it if you want to!
The other night I threw together some green and red peppers chopped up with summer squash, tossed in olive oil and herbs, and roasted it all for a while. Then I sprinkled it liberally with some Italian blend shredded cheese and it went back in the oven until that got nice and melty.
I was going to make quinoa to go with it, but then I changed my mind and made some tandoori-ginger jasmine rice instead.
If the pictures seem a little fuzzy, I think it’s because the hot food steamed up my phone’s camera lens.
I always really like making tandoori rice because it comes out such a nice coral orange color. I tend to throw in some butter and then probably about a tablespoon of tandoori seasoning. Maybe a bit less. My tandoori seasoning came from T.J. Maxx. You could look for it there or at other stores that have interesting alternative unusual food items. I don’t know how easy it is to find, but my container of it is definitely large enough to last me for a long, long time. I’ve already had it for about two years…
As for the veggies, I just chopped them, sort of roughly, and mixed them all together. The seasonings were very nice. If I remember correctly, I used oregano, rosemary, thyme, and black pepper. Yes, I put pepper on my peppers. It did make them a little spicy, but I like that. Omit the pepper if you don’t like spice.
According to the internet, you’re supposed to roast vegetables at a very high temperature. Next time I think I’ll keep it to 450, because some of the peppers started to look a little bit over-browned before the squash really browned much at all. Luckily, nothing really burned. It was a very nice roast-y flavor.
I still have leftover rice, a week later, so I decided to do something with it today.
That right there is a kale salad with tandoori rice, cajun-sauteed chicken, and a small amount of dried cranberries. It was, in fact, the last of the cranberries, so I’m going to have to buy more.
Do those flavors “go” together? I don’t know. probably not. But they taste good together. So I do it.
I hope you’ve been inspired to combine some foods or flavors you would not have thought to mix before! Food is meant to be enjoyed. Just do whatever you want with it.
Happy spring! It’s May, which generally means that the weather will actually stay good. Maybe a bit rainy. I’m excited.
In case you hadn’t noticed, my motivation for blogging has been seriously lacking lately. I can’t even remember if I’ve made or eaten any food worth talking about lately. I suppose I could assume that such a fact would indicate that I haven’t. I’ve also been busier since changing my position to full time and starting the writing course I’m doing.
I think I’m turning away from omelets and toward cheesy veggie scrambled eggs. Same ingredients, but skips the step of having to beat the eggs first, which saves probably a whole minute of time! Fantastic! Easier to approach in the morning before work, when I don’t have several hours of leisure to enjoy. I made one yesterday with tomatoes and a bit of Mexican blend cheese. I like to buy shredded cheese because it’s just easier to deal with, even if it might be cheaper and fresher to grate it yourself.
There are three things I have learned about making scrambled eggs that have made me actually like them.
1) Do not beat them together in advance.
2) add a little cream, sour cream, cream cheese, or similar to give them a creamy (in case that wasn’t obvious) texture.
3) Like just about any other sort of eggs, I like them on the runny side. I realize that the reason I’ve disliked scrambled eggs so often in the past is that they were cooked too long. The downside, of course, is that they’re a little messier, often leaving liquid on the plate that might spill if I’m not careful. I’m ok with that, because they taste WAY better.
I went to an event last night, and I think I will post about it later. It was very loud and crowded, kind of overwhelming, but fun. I’ll give you a short recount of the highlights and probably a picture of the really awesome necklace I bought.
Time to play catch-up (not ketchup, or catsup, which I have run out of, unfortunately for me that time I made burgers…) and post a few experiments that I’ve done over the past few months that I’ve been too lazy to post. I feel a little bit bad about it, but hopefully this will make up for it.
I don’t know why I did this, but I decided I’d like to try to make a creamy cheese sauce for my pasta one night. My first try went very well, although I definitely think I overdid the red pepper flakes – it’s so easy to do because they look so festive! – and as a result it was a bit spicier than intended. It was still delicious though, so I count it as a win.
It’s been a while since I made this, so I can’t recall exactly how it was done. I can you a vague idea, though, in case you want to try a recipe-less cream sauce… It’s a great dish. The way I made it was quick and easy, resulting in a tasty meal. I have pictures from two separate times preparing it.
Of course I made too much pasta as usual. Part of the problem with cooking for one person is that it’s hard to cook single portions when you learned to cook for at least two people originally. There’s nothing wrong with leftovers, of course, although this dish is definitely much better when fresh. There’s probably a way to make cheese sauce that keeps better, but then I’d have to follow a recipe. Plus, I used angel hair this time, which is never as good in leftovers form. My recommendation would be linguine, regular spaghetti, or some fun shaped pasta like penne or rotini. I love rotini! The little corkscrew kind. It’s the most awesome pasta shape. Read the rest of this entry
One of the perks of no-recipe cooking, aka throwing whatever random (to some degree) foods I have on a plate, is that I’ll often get a meal together in 5-10 minutes, depending on if it’s something I can eat cold or not.
Last week I managed to make a really delicious sandwich with only a few ingredients and my oven. It was inspired by a panini or two I’ve had over the course of many years… yes, apparently, I love ham sandwiches. Not as much as chicken, as I’m sure you’ll learn if you stick around. … anyway, onto the anti-recipe
The ingredients: bread (two slices), cheese (it was a cheddar/mozzarella blend, but you can use whatever the hell you want. I recommend swiss or brie for this purpose), deli ham, tomato slices, mustard, honey apple butter.
Instructions: Heat oven to about 425, arrange items on bread, put in oven open faced, leave in until cheese is melted.
The stuff on top of the ham that looks like gravy is in fact honey apple butter from Trader Joe’s. Feel free to assemble your sandwich contents any way you like – however, if you do it this way, the apple stuff is almost like a glaze on the ham, so good, I can’t even tell you. The mustard is under the ham here, but you can put it anywhere you want, even not on the sandwich. But why would you want to do that? Just put it under the ham.
So, if you have a toaster oven, that might be a better way to go. I haven’t figured out where to set mine up, so I still make toast in my oven. Tip: if you want to warm everything up and melt the cheese, but not toast the bread, put it on a bit of aluminum foil or a baking sheet. If you want the bread nice and crispy on the outside, put it right on the rack.
I waited a minute or two, then put the two halves together and they just tasted soooooo good. It was really juicy. If I’d had the option, I would have used a really good artisan bread of some kind, because I am a bread fiend.
It was still really tasty, though.