Food-related Entertainment: the Intersection of Food & Pot News

Yes folks, perhaps you’ve heard about Washington State’s legalization of pot sales, or as I like to call it, the decriminalization of low-level pot possession. While I’m not a big proponent of use myself, I stumbled on an excuse to post about it here this week, as this is actually food-related:

Sweet pot dreams dashed for Capitol Hill cupcake mogul?

Welcome to government bureaucracy confusion, would-be pot business owners. Even the relatively successful owner of a local cupcake franchise in Seattle managed to file the wrong paperwork. I wait with bated breath to hear more as the new fun adventures in government pot administration, and corresponding business compliance unfold.

Food-Related Entertainment: Street Food Market in NYC, and a whiny letter to you

One of my favorite food celebrities is working on bringing a street food market to New York City. Anthony Bourdain!

See this article from grubstreet for more details.

Well, that’s exciting, especially for New Yorkers, I imagine. You know what’s not exciting? The gastroenterological issues I found with the most recent food combo I took a gander at. Yes, dear Reader, despite having had a cold seemingly for time immemorial, I had a post all drafted up for you a few days ago for it, but I am still unscientifically testing if some of the after effects are truly from this combination, in which case, I’m scrapping the post. Relatedly, writing a blog with free (but not exceptionally novel) food info has grown tedious and a little like yelling down into a well without hearing an echo back.

Is anyone reading?
Does anyone care?
Do you laugh when you read this?
What else would you like to hear about?

Please post and share. Otherwise, this blog may be short-lived, as I would otherwise use my time to connect with real humans rather than the spam-bots I keep having to review.

Sincerely,
y

Yay for Family Time, too! Charred Green Beans

Last week also saw my spouse and I visiting my parents. I was raised on a relatively mellow-tasting, healthy diet, similar to what I helped my mama make below. Lots of steamed stuff, and delicious tofu.

Dinner prep with Mama: green beans, fish, thousand year eggs, scallions, and tofu.
Dinner prep with Mama: green beans, fish, thousand year eggs, scallions, and tofu.
Dinner by chef Mama: thousand-year egg & tofu, steamed green beans, baked fish, and tofu miso soup (also: leftover pot stickers).
Dinner by chef Mama: thousand-year egg & tofu, steamed green beans, baked fish, and tofu miso soup (also: leftover pot stickers).

The next night, I made dinner in honor of my father’s birthday. Fell a little short on supplies cooking away from my kitchen, but I made do.

Baked Chicken
Ingredients
2 boneless chicken breasts
olive oil & butter (melted)
dried marjoram
dried rosemary
honey
salt & pepper

“Steps”
I preheated the good ‘ole toaster oven to 400 and oiled up the pan. I rinsed and dried the chicken, brushed it with the butter and oil mix, and sprinkled a generous amount of marjoram, rosemary, salt and pepper. Then I baked it for around 40 minutes, dripped a little honey on top on impulse, took it out around 10 minutes later.

Dinner prep: the chili oil is actually home made from a friend, just stored in that bottle..
Dinner prep: the chili oil is actually home made from a friend, just stored in that bottle..

Charred Green Beans
Originally from a Seattle Times 2008 article (their link was dead so I removed it), modified for what I had on hand, and to keep the garlic in the roast.
Serves 8

Ingredients
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 teaspoons chili powder (this is the substitute shown above for not having chili oil)
1 teaspoon dark sesame oil
2 large or 4 small garlic cloves
1 pound green beans
2 tablespoons sesame seeds
Coarse kosher or sea salt

Steps
1. Combine vegetable, chili and sesame oils in a microwave-safe container. With the flat of a chef’s knife, smash the garlic cloves; remove and discard peel and add garlic to oil. Cover with a paper towel and microwave on full power for 30 seconds. Let sit while you prepare the beans.
2. Top and tail green beans, rinse them thoroughly and then whirl in a salad spinner to remove excess moisture. Pat dry with paper towels or a clean dish towel.
3. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Spread beans out in one layer in two rimmed baking sheets. Drizzle oil over beans and toss beans until all are coated with oil.
4. Roast beans 15 to 20 minutes, depending on size, stirring and rotating pans halfway through. Beans should be browned in spots and beginning to shrivel. Remove from oven and drain on paper towels.
5. While beans are roasting, toast sesame seeds in a skillet over low heat, shaking pan and stirring frequently until fragrant; then remove from heat.
6. Sprinkle hot beans with sesame seeds and coarse salt to taste. Serve immediately, or store in fridge then serve at room temperature.

 

Dinner in the tiny rice bowls I grew up on. Not visible: rice.
Birthday dinner: baked chicken, charred green beans, and brown rice (not shown), served in the tiny rice bowls I grew up with (excellent portion control technique).

This week’s trial recipe rating:
Novelty Rating:
3 of 5 stars
The chicken was palatable, and I was happy it turned out okay, but was not remarkable. I’ve been making those green beans since 2008, they are in the regular meal rotation, so the only novelty is how tasty they are.
Likelihood of Repeat: 20%
Likely not to repeat the same ad hoc chicken, likely to repeat the green beans, but they weren’t the trial factor here.

Yay for Family Time!

ensaimadas set out to rise at my in-laws'
ensaimadas set out to rise at my in-laws’

Dear Reader,
After a whirlwind of travel to see family (lots of family) for the holidays, I spruced up a few pics I took along the way on my plane ride home. Then I woke up with a wicked sore throat, sore muscles and a serious case of loopy brain. That was Friday. The sore throat haunts me yet. That is my excuse for the brief hiatus from posting.

Did you miss me? Here’s a little two-fer to make up for it.

Pictured here are ensaimadas set out to rise, made by my father-in-law. He is renown in the filipino community of the Twin Cities for his empanadas, ensaimadas, hopia, the list goes on. In college when my boyfriend (now spouse) and I would stop by their house, there’d be empanadas cooling on every surface in the house. Yum!  Said spouse got a chance to get a glimpse at some close-held family recipes. Nom nom nom. I was a bit busy wrapping a zillion gifts while we were there, so these are all the pictures you get.

Not shown: baking a zillion chocolate chip cookies with the niece and nephew in SFO (didn’t have any time for pictures).

secret family recipes!
secret family recipes!

 

Food-related Entertainment: Foodini

Foodini: the 3D food printer.
3D printed pizza: unimpressive

Have you heard about Foodini? It is a 3D printer for food! Click on the photos to read a longer gizmag article on it. Yes, I got excited until I saw the pizza, which made me realize it was just a really fancy play-dough machine. It also doesn’t really cook it, just heats at 100 degrees to keep things melty. Given the sloppiness of the more pedestrian 3D printers I’ve known from engineering friends’ houses, I’m inclined to think that the $1,300 by mid-2014 is not quite optimized for the price-to-quality, and that it could wait a few years. Plus, you can’t use this 3D printer to make another 3D printer (unless you want one of chocolate)! Still, it’s a pretty neat concept to think about. This tree looks crunchy-delicious.

Chocolate tree assembled from foodini-printed chocolate. Chomp chomp chomp.

Accordion Potatoes

Saw this recipe via the latest blog I’ve been persistently sucked into perusing, Brit + Co. which led me to A Beautiful Mess’ Accordion Potatoes. I only had 3 large yukon potatoes, so scaled it down thus:

3 large yukon gold potatoes, washed and dried.
1/4 cup of butter
1 1/2 tsp olive oil
1 teaspoons minced rosemary
1 1/2 tsp minced garlic

Per instructions in the link above,
-Preheat oven to 375.
-Slice potatoes 3/4 through in accordion style.
-In a microwave safe bowl combine the butter, oil, rosemary and garlic.
-Cook just until melted, about 45 seconds.
Use a kitchen brush to coat each potato, make sure the butter gets between each slice.
Bake at 375°F for 38-40 minutes. The goal is to make sure they are done on the inside and crispy on the edges.
-Then brush with another layer of the butter mixture and serve.
-Served with sides of cream cheese, chopped green onions and shredded cheddar cheese. yum!

what the accordion say?
what the accordion say?

Today’s Trial Recipe Rating:
Novelty Rating:
3 of 5 stars
This was really quite tasty with the cream cheese I had left over from cookie-making, and I’d like to try it again for more crisp using smaller potatoes..
Likelihood of Repeat: 45%
…but it was pretty heavy on the carbs, minutely tedious to brush the mix on, and not consumed largely by my dining companion at home. I may only try making it again when he’s out of town, and I’ve pre-burned a lot of calories.

Method Break: Idea: Adorable Animal Snacks for Kids

I am super stoked to visit family this holiday season, including my neice and nephew, 6 and 4.  I may already be keeping a running list of fun stuff to entertain them with if they ever get out here to visit me. Maybe. So in case you haven’t seen it around the interwebs yet, Easy Adorable Animal Snacks to Make with Kids.

teddy bear s'mores?!!
teddy bear s’mores?!!

Yeah? Yeah? What do you think, should I do it? Have you done it? Please share.
This is definitely one direction I haven’t thought to stretch my brain much when making food.

What -Berry Salad?!

WheatberrySaladCompleteNope, wheat berry salad!
I posted recently about the wonders of rice cookers, and promised to take a gander at the Wheat Berry Salad I stumbled on in my related googling adventures. So here it is, nearly unaltered from Tiny Urban Kitchen’s original post:

Wheat Berry Salad
Ingredients:

1 cup soft white wheat berries
2 cups water
dash of salt
1 orange bell pepper
1/3 red onion
2 roma tomatoes
1 cucumber
1/4 cup nuts (pine nuts shown here, I think pecans or almonds would work fine too)

Steps
1. Toast the wheat berries in a skillet for ~4 minutes on medium high heat. Stir often, for the wheat berries will begin to brown and even start popping. You may want to get a lid or splatter screen just in case.
2. Soak the wheat berries in water for 1 hour, or in my case, overnight in the rice cooker with the timer set for 5:30 PM. If you don’t have a rice cooker, you can bring the wheat berries to a boil in a pot of water on the stove top and then let simmer for about 45 minutes.
3. While you’re waiting for it to finish, finely chop: 1 orange bell pepper, 1/3 red onion, 2 roma tomatoes, and 1 cucumber.
4. Lightly toast nuts.
5. When wheatberries are done cooking, dress the cooked wheatberries with a bit of sesame oil, soy sauce, sugar, and a little black pepper to taste.
6. Finally, mix in vegetables, onion, and nuts into wheatberries, can be served warm straight from the rice cooker, or cold.
When I prepped it, I kept the onions and pine nuts separate, since the raw onions could be a little heart burny, and I added the pine nuts at the last minute so I could keep them crunchy for lunch.

Toast wheatberries, soak overnight, have the robot cook it, chop other stuff, toast nuts, mix. Nom.
Toast wheatberries, soak overnight, have the robot cook it, chop other stuff, toast nuts, mix. Nom.

This week’s trial recipe rating:
Novelty Rating: 5 of 5 stars

Wow, these wheatberries have a delightful pop when you bite down on them! All the bright-colored vegetables I added made it a really appealing-looking dish to eat, with just the right crunch from the peppers and cucumbers. It was also super easy to bring for lunch and eat cold, but still feel satisfied. Score one for small portion efforts.
Likelihood of Repeat: 90%
I’m definitely going to make this again, and maybe even branch out to try a different vinaigrette combo with it, or add goat cheese or craisins. Besides the time it took to cook the actual grains, the rest of the prep was super fast since it didn’t require any more cooking.

Method Break: Poached Egg by Microwave

In case you’ve not heard, you can poach an egg in the microwave! It took me a few tries but I finally got it about right for my particular microwave.

In vintage (a.k.a. janky) microwave:
1. Add 1/2 c water to a small bowl, carefully crack egg in, cover loosely.
2. Heat 50 seconds at power level 8.
Voila!

You may need to fiddle a few different ways to figure out the right amount of time and power for your microwave, and it’s not exactly the same as an over easy fried egg fresh from the pan since it cooks more evenly, but I found it quite satisfying to be able to have a soft, yolky egg to top whatever leftovers I had, be it rice, squash, ramen, or even salad.

20131205-131831.jpg