Blog Archives

We All Need a Break Sometimes


For a while, I wasn’t really cooking anything that seemed interesting enough to post about, so I didn’t post any recipes. More recently I’ve been making some good stuff–made guacamole with my mom, made salsa (as far as I’m concerned, the secret is just jalapenos and cilantro), and some other things I now can’t really remember. But I haven’t felt too motivated to post about these things, even though I do sort of want to.

And all those things I said I was going to do to update my blog? Still intend to, but I’m already late. Like almost everyone else I’ve ever met, I’m kind of a procrastinator, especially when I don’t have a set deadline. (And deadlines I set myself that no one else cares about don’t count.)

It can  be argued that keeping at something even when you don’t feel like doing it can be good for you. If you push through the difficult times, you will come through to the other side with more energy and motivation. However, you can also burn out that way. I think that taking a break is a good idea for me right now, so I’m just taking it easy. I haven’t posted on Between Worlds either. I have been watching a lot of Netflix, though.

In the meantime, you can watch my eggnog cupcake video if you missed it (doesn’t show actual cooking, sorry) or my most recent one on my non-resolutions:

 

I haven’t done nearly as much with my channel as I originally wanted by this point. One of my unstated goals is to play around with editing a bit more, even in the crappy program I have, and see if I can understand more of the features. All I have to do is just take some sort of stock video-like footage I can play around with, because then I won’t feel like I’m in a rush to post it (I talk about time-sensitive things when I’m vlogging), and I can take my time. I’d also love to figure out how to make it post in HD… my camera should be able to do 1080p videos, but so far when I upload them it only goes up to 260 or whatever the number is. It’s really low, I know that much.

</endrant>

So, based on what I’ve stated above, you might not see a lot of posts from me for a little while. I’ll be back though. I’m stubborn, so I have to pretend that this blog might one day be successful.

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Mixed Media Meals


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.

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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.

kale rice salad

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.

Simple Stir Fry, or My New Grating Dish – Success, basically.


*May favorites page is done, finally! I was a little late, and it wasn’t posted until June. Oops.

There are TONS of stir-fry recipes out there, and since I was improvising, and it didn’t look too pretty in the end, I’m not posting a “recipe” or any pictures of the food itself.

Anyway, the real star of the post is this thing:

Isn't it pretty?

Spanish grating dish. Isn’t it pretty?

My wonderful mom bought me this at Sowa Open market during its opening weekend. And then said she wanted one herself. I don’t know if the guy who was selling them is there every weekend/will be continuing to sell there, but apparently you can get them on d-grater.com. Mom.

It came with a stand (which you can kind of see in this picture here), a rubber thing that skins garlic (which didn’t work for me), and a little brush, which is useful for getting the grated stuff out of the dish and into/on your food as well as for cleaning. How the dish works is that no, those are not concentric circles of lines that make it appear textured; it actually is textured. Those are little ridges and in fact you could grate your hand on them, so be careful when using it, even if you’ve been doing it for a while and you’re good at it.

So. Read the rest of this entry

Mixed Vegetable Mac and Cheese


(Success, hell yes!)

This one needs a disclaimer; I made this about three weeks ago, so I’ll try to remember as well as I can what the process was, but I’m sure I will have forgotten by now. Also, this is NOT a recipe, so if you want to make this, I’d recommend looking up a basic mac and cheese recipe and adding the veggies to that.

So. There I was, with this whole eggplant that needed to be used up, and all the necessary ingredients to make a cheese sauce. I had a box of medium shells (so technically, it was shells and cheese, not macaroni). Also on hand were tomatoes, broccoli, and breadcrumbs. I figured that at worst I would end up with a pasta bake, and it would be edible as long as I didn’t burn it. So I just went for it, totally blind. No recipe.

I did glance at a mac and cheese recipe for reference to what tempt to set the oven to, but other than that I was just improvising. I have read mac and cheese recipes, I’ll admit, so I may have remembered a few things from them.  However, I’ve made cheese sauce for pasta several times now, so I had a good idea of how that worked. (Practice is the absolute best way to learn to cook! Who knew?)

The first thing I did was saute/steam the eggplant and broccoli while boiling the water for the pasta (and preheating the oven). The last thing to get cooked would have to be the cheese sauce, as its consistency would not keep if it had time to cool. The tomatoes would go in uncooked, just before it was all stuck in the oven.

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There’s my big pot of broccoli and eggplant (and steam). Nice, no? Once they were cooked I took them off the heat, and the pasta was still cooking as I started the sauce.

The cheese and butter all combined eventually, but at first, they were just giant clumps in the milk and cream. Melt the butter in advance if you want to avoid that, but the trick, really, is to make sure the heat is right (low-medium) and just keep stirring, slowly. If you’re persistent it will all smooth out. I mean, I added what was probably several cups of cheese, pretty much all at once, so it’s no wonder it all just kind of clumped together in the milk soup.

As the sauce cooked, I put everything else together in a large baking pan. As soon as the sauce was fully combined and of the right thickness, I poured it over the veggies and pasta and mixed it all to coat everything with cheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeese.

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Looks really good! At this stage I sprinkled breadcrumbs on top in a generous amount, and finished it with some more shredded cheese. It went into the oven and cooked for something around 1/2 an hour.

 

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I’ve got to figure out panko breadcrumbs, because the nice browned parts you can see on top were due to the cheese. The breadcrumbs did not get crisp or browned, unfortunately. Any tips?

The verdict: OMG. For my very first try at homemade mac and cheese, without using a recipe, I was amazed at how well it turned out. The only thing I would have wanted to be different was that it wasn’t cheeeeeesy enough. More/creamier sauce would have done that, but it was so good that I couldn’t regret how it had turned out. I enjoyed it with some wonderful dinner rolls from When Pigs Fly.

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If you don’t think this looks good, then I feel sorry for you.

I had about 6 more meals from this, because, as you could see, I made a very large amount. As leftovers it’s not quite as good, because, as you might know, reheated pasta gets a little bit chewy, and the cheesy parts were a bit thicker as well. Still very tasty, of course, but I would recommend making this for at least two, if not 4-6 people, or a much, MUCH smaller amount. I used a whole entire box of shells, a whole eggplant, a crown of broccoli, and a handful of tomatoes (I’ve been liking Campari lately).

All in all, this one is filed under “success.”

Crescent roll mini “quiche”


It’s been so long that I can’t remember where I got the idea anymore, but I’d decided to experiment with some kind of egg muffin dish, with pie crust. But then, crescent roll crust seemed easier, so that’s what I used instead.

I broke open my roll of rolls, unrolled them, and lined each space in the muffin tin with dough. By then I was on a roll. (forgive me for the horrible punning…)

I mixed three or four eggs and some milk (probably should have had some flour in there or something too), and set that aside, then went to chop up a bunch of ingredients. I won’t bore you with the ingredient prep, as it was nothing special and therefore not worth writing about, but the end result was this: Tomato and mozzarella cups (I only made 4 of them for some reason, and I will never know why. Should have made 6), and ham, broccoli and cheddar cups (8! That was too many! Worked out pretty well for leftovers, though.)

                                                   

It took about 1 and 1/2 packages of crescent rolls, and I think I used 4 eggs, mixed with 1/2 cup of milk. For other ingredients, I you can just eyeball how much you want to use, if you make something like this. Just chop up some stuff and throw it in. Note: use more cheese than you think you need. I could hardly taste the cheese at all. 😦

I had the oven at 350°, and cooked them until some of the pastry edged were starting to get brown. Read the rest of this entry

Homemade Pita Chips


A few weeks ago I had this for dinner:

 

 

Yup, those are homemade. (By the way, Roasted Red Pepper is the very best variety of hummus. It’s just freaking delicious. It took me a long time to get on the Roasted Red Pepper train, but now I’m never getting off!)

These items being pretty much the only things in my kitchen at the time that I could make a meal out of, and not being super hungry, I was just going to eat pita and hummus, but I’d had that for lunch at least two days in a row. I wanted to finish off the hummus, because that stuff doesn’t keep forever, you know.

All right, so everyone knows that pita chips are just baked or oil-fried pieces of pita, right? I figure that’s obvious. What is often NOT obvious is, you can just make your own. Yup. I’ve done that with tortillas before – that is, cut them up and cooked them in a bit of oil. I overcooked them last time, not fun. For the pita chips, I figured baking them would make more sense. I didn’t want them to be all oily and burnt.

I didn’t look up any instructions. I can’t even remember what temperature I put the oven on, but I think that I should try a lower setting next time. When the edges were getting all crisp and brown, the middles of the chips were still kind of soft. So I’ll try, maybe, 350 next time.

I drizzled a bit of olive oil on top of each chip, and then sprinkled some herbed sea salt on top. I don’t like a lot of salt so I might have tried a little too hard not to overdo it. Or maybe there’s some trick to flavoring pita chips that I’m missing. Like dipping them in oil and then dipping them in herbs/spices before putting them on the baking sheet. I don’t know. Either way, they could have used a tiny bit more seasoning, but on the other hand, the plain flavor went better with the hummus. The biggest problem was that they didn’t bake evenly, like I said.

If you’re considering trying this, keep quantity in mind. My medium-sized pita would have been enough for two people, assuming they both weren’t really hungry, or had something else to eat. A large pita could probably work for at least three, but if you get those mini-pitas, the existence of which I just don’t get, don’t even expect that to fill up one person. Then again, a whole package of mini-pitas might be enough.

While baking, I’d check them at ten minutes, no later than 15. If you think you smell them burning, check them immediately. If they seem to be getting really brown at the edges, then you have to choose between possibly not having them crisp in the middle, or letting the edges overcook.

Of course, you can always look up an actual recipe if you’re not willing to risk the imperfections of experimental cooking. Then, pair with whatever kind of dip or food item you’d like, and eat to your heart’s content.

 

 

They were tasty, so I’m calling it a success. (Ish)

The Evolution of a Blog, Not That It Really Matters.


I started this blog intending it to focus on food, and until a few days ago, when I changed the blog name to match the link, that was how I looked at it. I will still write about food, of course. But I was having this problem…

I have another blog that’s just for writing. You can go see it here: http://devajashewaywriting.wordpress.com. There, I try not to ramble on about things that aren’t related to writing. I’ll write about life developments occasionally, but the focus of that site is my writing and, sometimes, the process behind it. I kept feeling the desire to write about food, to share when I make something really delicious without following a recipe (which happens the majority of the time I actually cook anything. Not bragging, just sharing…). So then I started this blog to do that. But I also feel I want to write about other things sometimes. Tidbits of life or whatnot. And I was thinking, “How many blogs do I actually want to have?”

The answer was, not actually more than two.

Luckily, the link name for this blog was “norecipelife” (an option that seemed cooler than “norecipefoodblog.wordpress…”), so, my brain connected some dots and said to me, hey, just make the blog No Recipe Life, and then you’ll be justified in writing about other things here. That’ll keep your blogs down to a minimum.

Seemed like a good plan. At some point I want to turn my writing blog into something resembling an actual writer’s website, so I don’t want to clutter it up with other crap. But I’m happy to clutter this, more personal blog! I’m thinking I will still write mostly about food, but now I’ve opened it up to talk about other things as well.

Speaking of food: My idea about making mini pies has been put on hold until I have more money to buy pie ingredients. My food budget has gone way down lately due to the fact that I spend more money than I should. So, no pies. I did, however, whip up some kind of fried-dough-coconut-pancake thing from stuff I had lying around. Let me tell you a little bit about them. (no pictures. Sorry.)

Read the rest of this entry

Possibly a Bad Idea


I recently got some kitchen items that I believed my kitchen needed, whether or not I get around to using them any time soon – like a nice big pot, large baking pan, and a cupcake tin.

Although muffins would probably be the most practical and healthiest option for breaking in my cupcake tin, I had this thought that I really want to make some mini pies.

I’m really hung up on this idea now. I love pie. Really. SO GOOD. And with the cupcake pan method, I could make several different kinds of pie. But pie is a lot of effort, and almost certainly requires a recipe…

My thought right now is to buy the ready-made kind of pie crust to cut down on time, and maybe select up to three different kinds of fillings, look up a recipe so I know what tempt to set the oven on, and then just go for it. I’m not interested in perfection; I want a fun experiment. The worst thing I can do, I think, is burn them, and if that happens, it’s not the end of the world.

Likely I’ll end up with something somewhat resembling pie, but not officially qualifying as pie. I think I’d be happy with that.

 

Apple is the obvious choice. It is apple pie season. Obviously. I think I’m going to have to buy some nutmeg too…

Maybe I’ll buy some canned “pie filling” and make little cherry pies that taste something like the ones my grandmother used to make.

 

I need some whipped cream. Definitely.

This might be a project for this weekend. I’ll let you know what happens.

Successes and Misfires!


The title here could apply to many aspects of my life, but in this case I’m only talking about cooking. Before I get into that, hi! It’s been a while, but I figure that this blog hasn’t been around long enough to gain any regular readers who would be disappointed at the lack of posts. Therefore, I’m only disappointing myself, and that’s just par for the course… I hate that phrase. Remind me never to use it again.

I need to get myself going, move on to the present projects and not make you dwell on past anti-recipes and waiting longer for the more recent ones. So I’ll just recap the various successes and misfires I’ve had lately, the more notable ones, anyway, in vaguely chronological order.

Number 1: Cheesy Biscuits – Misfire. Read the rest of this entry

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