Tag Archives: olive oil

Campfire Cooking Methods

Before more recent whirlwind adventures to a wedding in Vermont, K____ and I took a brief respite to camp in the North Cascades National Park. The votes are in, and the top winning option for next blog post was Campfire Cooking Methods! Special thanks to Logistikris for the unique comment entry of ‘Campfire chocoraspberry cake.’ I’ll try to cover chocoraspberry cake next. We were only there a couple nights, or: “as long as my back will take tent sleeping,” and “that’s how long the giant cooler of ice and frozen meats lasts to a safe-ish temp.”

Packing bin of non-refrigeration items for high-maintenance car camping: cooking oils and vinaigrettes are quarantined in a brown paper bag.
Packing bin of non-refrigeration items for high-maintenance car camping: cooking oils and vinaigrettes are quarantined in a brown paper bag.

Method Part 1: Pack it!

If you were a compulsive planner like me, you might list what you’d like to eat on your camping trip, and portion out ingredients as you pack up the accompanying junk food (in my house any road trip merits a hiatus from healthier eating). This time, I had in mind..

  • hot toddies
  • chocolate raspberry cake
  • marshmallows
  • hot dogs
  • and traditional sausage-bacon-egg-potato breakfast foods

In retrospect, it was too much in one night’s work to prep everything and also make spam musubi, but yeah, that’s what I did (even with lots of help from K___). If you are NOT a compulsive planner like me, I leave it to you to wing it like you do (i.e. like a BOSS). Really, I only measured things out for the first two items listed there, and I cheated with box chocolate cake mix. It’s camping, not the Iron Chef. I also made a little mix of balsamic vinegar and olive oil which came in handy as dressing and marinade.

Method Part 2: Fire, not for backpacking -especially in high-fire-prone areas.

With the exception of marshmallow roasting, you want a low, even fire with plenty of coals. K____ and I treated fire-building like a team sport, with him as captain. We spread the logs out pretty wide for cooking, to make room for an even surface for the tools. Want more on this? Let me google that for you... Don’t forget to read up before you are out of cell phone reception zones. Obvi, if you are backpacking, all this “camping” is a whole different ball game.

Method Part 3: Tools
Here’s what the latest full-scale carried-a-little-too-far Wong Way of camping entails for cooking tools:

Tool 1: Cast Iron Skillet
-Needs: high temp cooking oil or butter, don’t forget the metal flipper!
-Good for bacon and all-purpose random cooking, especially when you snag the last possible campsite and it turns out to have no standard grill rack.
-Bad for open-flame potatoes.
-Obviously a bad idea for for light-weight packs.

Cast iron skillet in action! Served with a side of beer from a faraway place.
Cast iron skillet in action! Served with a side of beer from a faraway place.

Tool 2: Dutch Oven
-Good for making cake, probably good for a lot else too, like stew. It really holds the heat in.
-Bad for your back. This thing is so heavy. At least that means the squirrels can’t mess with it, only Yogi Bear.
-ditto on the backpacking

Tool 3: Aluminum Foil
-Good for..tubers, if you can get coals. Much better to wrap potatoes than expose them in cooking on a skillet. It was useful to shape handles on top of them for easier maneuvering.
-Also good for fashioning makeshift plateware and utensils, for that one time when you forgot sporks.

If you put the pre-mixed toddy ingredients in a glass jar you can heat it up near the fire to melt the honey before combining with water from the percolator.
If you put the pre-mixed toddy ingredients in a glass jar you can heat it up near the fire to melt the honey before combining with water from the percolator.

Tool 4: Percolator. Just add water!
-Good for coffee, tea, hot cocoa
Hot toddies (basically, pre-mix everything but the water and lemon).
-Easy mac & cup noodle.
-Thermos + raw chicken noodle soup to cook over time.

Surprise Winning Tool: Percolator?!
That’s right, folks. While I’m grateful for the delicious breakfast K___ served up via skillet, and the fully-baked cake thanks to how well the dutch oven holds heat in, the percolator was the one I was most grateful to have, both to stave off a caffeine headache in the morning with coffee, and to keep me really cozy in the evening with hot toddies. It also felt like the easiest, most versatile one with endless possibilities. Maybe my opinion is swayed too strongly by how precious having water was on this trip since they hadn’t turned on the taps on the North Cascades yet. Oops.

Second Runner Up: Dutch Oven! This one is getting googled some more for the next camping trip. I’d probably rather just cheat directly with hot cakes’ take ‘n’ bake for smaller portion sizes on cakes, but I think you might get a good stew out of the dutch oven instead. They even come with campfire directions!

Safety Notes: on meat thermometers and a giant cooler on wheels..
-It’s definitely good to not poison yourself (see: safe cooking temps for meat).
-Tried to store meats on the bottom of the cooler, separated by ziplocs for extra OCD-style care.
-Tried to cook the more salmonella-prone items first, like eggs.

Relaxing with a hot toddy after dinner before getting in that tent.
Relaxing with a hot toddy after dinner before getting in that tent. Salud!

Questions? Comments? As usual, post below!

(Insert Protein Here) Lettuce Wraps!

These days, my household tries to eat less carb-heavy things on a regular basis, and I’ve taken to making lettuce wraps regularly. One of the first google search results will give you a copycat of the P.F. Chang’s recipe, so that was my jumping off point. Frankly, that is where I’ve eaten most of the lettuce wrap dishes in my life. Not vouching for the authenticity of it here, going there kind of drives me nuts sometimes (okay, every time). I also halved all the sauces from original recipe for a full one pound portion of pork. You’ll want to adjust it to your taste, other people probably like more sweet, oozy sauce than me.
From there, I added things I actually wanted to eat..

Lettuce wrap close-up. I think this one is pork..
Lettuce wrap close-up. I think this one is pork..

(Insert Protein Here) Lettuce Wraps
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
Yield: 4 servings

Lettuce wrap montage! This one is from an earlier trial, before I decided I didn't like cucumbers and instead wanted oranges in it.
Lettuce wrap montage! This one is from an earlier trial, before I decided I didn’t like cucumbers and instead wanted oranges in it.

Ingredients:

For protein base:

  • 1 tablespoon cooking oil
  • 1 pound ground chicken, pork, turkey, salmon, beef or tofu*
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced (about 1.2 tsp minced garlic)
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 7-10 crimini mushrooms, diced roughly

For the sauce (portions adjusted from original recipe):

  • 2 Tbs hoisin sauce
  • 1 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1.5 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp freshly grated ginger
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • Optional: Sriracha sauce or red peppers, to taste

To serve with protein base:

  • 1 head butter lettuce, rinsed.
  • 2 green onions, thinly chopped
  • 1 orange, rind peeled and pieces sliced (see video below)**
  • a handful of toasted cashews, or raw cashews if you can’t find toasted.
  • 1/2 an avocado, cut in bite-able chunks

Directions:

  1. Heat oil in a saucepan over medium high heat.
  2. Add ground pork and cook until browned, about 3-5 minutes, making sure to crumble the meat as it cooks; drain excess fat/liquid. NOTE: adjust this time for other proteins until browned enough and reached safe eating temp.
  3. While this cooks, you can toast the cashews on the side.
  4. Stir in mushrooms, garlic, onion, hoisin sauce, soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, ginger and Sriracha (optional) until onions have become translucent, about 1-2 minutes. Stir in green onions until tender, about 1-2 minutes; season with salt and pepper, to taste. It may already be salty enough before you add salt.
  5. To serve, spoon several tablespoons of the pork mixture into the center of a lettuce leaf, add cashews, avocado, orange and green onions, and enjoy!

*Note: I’ve tried this with ground chicken, turkey, pork, and salmon chunks so far, but you could pick any main protein base, including pressed tofu for the focus. For that reason, I’ve tagged this recipe as vegetarian, and paleo. I also marked it gluten-free -standard hoisin and soy sauce ingredients are NOT gluten-free, but you could buy or make a gluten-free version of this if you were up for it and I don’t think it would impact the taste much.

This trial picture had edamame, but I didn't feel that added much (besides good lean protein). Look at all the bright colors!
This trial picture had edamame, but I didn’t feel that added much (besides good lean protein). Look at all the bright colors!

This Week’s Trial Recipe Rating:
Novelty Rating:
4 of 5
I still haven’t made this dish enough for it to feel old hat, and every time the outcome is a little different.
Likelihood of Repeat: 80%
Also, always a different outcome if you try different proteins with it! Chopped up chicken rather than ground chicken would probably work too, and as long as you don’t get too carried away with add-ons, it doesn’t take hardly any time at all. Interested to try tofu too.
Lesson Learned: For this recipe, salmon is at the bottom of the priority list. Meh.
The portions of the recipe say four servings, and in fact it was enough ingredients that I ended up having to split it in half when sautéing -halfway through the process-, in order to get the mushrooms and onions to sear rather than boil. However, if the flavoring turns out good, you may end up with barely 1 mouthful left to put in the fridge between two hungry adults. Success! I think this otherwise could have fed a family of four if said people waited 10-15 minutes after having a few wraps, to feel full. You may also end up with leftover butter lettuce if you buy it in the live form I do, so a follow-up meal of tacos or sandwiches may be good later in the week.
This is definitely a somewhat messy affair to eat. Bring wet naps or be prepared to wash your hands after.
Also: I added the cashews for crunch, you could also try fresh, chopped daikon radish, raw carrots if you like carrots, or other toasted nuts.

**If you’d like a demo on how to cut citrus fruit to avoid the bitter pith, check out this random video I found of a charming guy with an entertaining shirt. Fight scurvy -eat more oranges!

Sweet Potato Pesto Pasta

Thanks to Abby for loaning me a spiralizer so I could try it out!

Spiralizer!
Spiralizer!

Thanks to Fitnessista for this recipe combo, the proportions I made up from my trial.

Ingredients:
For the pesto:
1/2 cup raw shelled sunflower seeds
1 tsp garlic
1 cup spinach
1 cup (packed) fresh basil leaves
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoon goat cheese
Kosher salt

For the rest:
1 large yam, peeled
your protein add of choice (shown below are seared scallops, made the Alton Brown way).

Sunflower seed pesto - cheaper than trekking to Afghanistan to harvest your own pine nuts.
Sunflower seed pesto – cheaper than trekking to Afghanistan to harvest your own pine nuts.

Steps:
Purée sunflower seeds, garlic, spinach, basil, oil, goat cheese and lemon zest and juice until smooth. Season with salt. Thin pesto with water if too thick.
Cut off ends of sweet potato and install flush against spiralizer, spiralize to your heart’s content.
Boil sweet potato spirals in water no more than 3 minutes.
Combine with pesto.
Serve with blindfold on.

Peel, spiralize, clean spiralizer, boil.
Peel, spiralize, clean spiralizer, boil.

Today’s Recipe Rating:
Novelty Rating:
4 of 5 stars.
Extremely novel.
Likelihood of Repeat: 50%
I couldn’t get my ‘roommate’ to eat much of it, but I’d like to try it again -next time with the julienne blade of my food processor.
Lesson Learned: If you boil it too much the ‘pasta’ crumbles fast (similar risk with reheating). Yes, you could buy a single-purpose tool like a spiralizer if you think you’ll eat a lot of spiralized things every week, but a food processor might work just fine for a rare occasion. Also, I always forget how easy it is to make pesto, I need to do this more, especially since you can make cheaper versions without pine nuts! Yum! I have read that real sweet potatoes are more dense and jam up the machine, better stick with the soft orange ones –yams? Whatever they are called..

I ate this with seared scallops, but the color combo was still a little disconcerting..
I ate this with seared scallops, but the color combo was still a little disconcerting..

Pasta alla Carbonara

I needed to whip up a nice backdrop for an easy but satisfying Sunday night dinner with a treat of seared scallops.* I had turkey bacon and egg on hand, and picked up some bucatini.

This one from Nook and Pantry has been sitting at the ‘bottom’ of my Evernote recipe box for a while, since the first time I tried my hand at carbonara with pancetta my arteries could hardly take it. However, turkey bacon took some of the punch out of it (so I could swap it out for butter & olive oil for the scallops).

Pasta alla Carbonara
+Optional Turkey Downgrade

Makes 2 servings for some one trying not to gorge, but only if you pack half of it away for the next day before you start eating.

Ingredients:
Approximately 2 slices of thick-cut turkey bacon, sliced into 1/4 inch wide strips, chopped
1 eggs, beaten
1 ounce finely grated parmesan (or pecorino romano)
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
4 ounces bucatini

Steps:

  1. Cook bacon in a skillet over medium heat until it is crisp. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on a piece of paper towel.
  2. Bring a large pot of water, salted generously, to a boil for the pasta. Cook pasta according to package instructions, until it is al dente.
  3. Temper the egg thus: with one hand beat the egg and with the other slowly drizzle approximately 1/8 cup of hot pasta water with a measuring scoop or cup into the egg mixture. Set aside.
  4. Before draining the pasta, set aside about 1/4 cup of the boiling pasta water to loosen the pasta if needed.
  5. Quick! When the pasta is al dente, drain the pasta then return back into the hot pot. Keep the pot off heat. The residual heat in the pot and pasta will thicken the sauce. Add the drained bacon, ground pepper, pasta and with one hand, stir pasta while pouring in the tempered egg mixture.
  6. Keep stirring to mix the cheese and egg evenly and the sauce will be thickened and silky smooth. Add a bit of the pasta water if needed.
  7. Optional: top with extra freshly ground pepper and grated cheese before serving.

Recipe Rating:
Novelty Rating:
5 of 5 stars
Likelihood of Repeat: 85%
The richness is definitely toned down with turkey bacon rather than pancetta, decide for yourself if you want that or not, of course..
Lesson Learned: How did I go so long without cooking bucatini all the time? The hollow noodles give the perfect al dente chewiness! Nom nom nom nom nom. This blends well with seared scallops, too. Due to the speedy timing, it’s definitely best to have everything else you want to eat ready before you sear scallops the Alton Way.

*I recently became allergic to some shellfish. The great news is, the allergist said to keep eating scallops regularly, to help prevent my body from identifying it as a foreign body. Most enjoyable medical advice worth following, ever!

Chef Crusoe the Dachshund on Bruschetta

File this one under: Entertaining Videos for Your Monday Commute
I even timed it so the East Coasters might get it in time..

While I have a special place in my heart for Martin Yan’s video from Saveur on how to make Cong You Bing (Scallion Pancakes), the latest food video I am captivated by is this one of Chef Crusoe the Dachshund, teaching you how to make bruschetta!  Saw a link to it from the Daily Meal a few days ago. This post is just to help spread the word more. I sent it straight to my friend at Wag Work Wine as soon as I saw it -perfect intersection of doggy adorable-ness and wine-related hosting tip! Entertainingly, I am also now convinced I should finally add bruschetta to my list of potential hosting recipes.

WARNING: you may end up watching a zillion youtube videos after this, with titles such as “Crusoe the Dachshund’s Bahamas Sailing Vacation.” Maybe you have a long commute?

Waffle Hash Browns!

I was going to save this one, but it’s so sunny today I thought you might like a novel brunch idea: from Macheesmo (one of the most entertaining blog names ever)!

Ingredients
2 medium Yukon potatoes, grated
2 tablespoons olive oil
Salt and pepper
Paprika
Eggs
Cooking spray

HashBrownWaffles1
Shred, drain (potato cheeeeese!), make some egg cups on the side, waffle-presto!

Steps

  1. Shred potato into a bowl of water, swirl.
  2. Drain and wring out potato. Get them as dry as possible.
  3. Mix potatoes thoroughly with oil.
  4. Heat up the waffle iron, then oil the surfaces.
  5. Pile on the potatoes and cook it up. Flip, then cook some more.
  6. When potatoes are crisped up to your liking, remove and serve with salt, pepper and paprika.
  7. Optional: Fry up an egg or two and serve with potato hash!

My hash browns didn’t turn out quite as pretty as Macheesmo’s, so if you want to do this, I recommend you follow the link to get his wording on steps (and beautiful pictures).

Today’s Trial Recipe Rating:
Novelty Rating:
3 of 5 stars.
Quite a novel method for hash browns..
Likelihood of Repeat: 45%
Not sure this would turn out that much better than just frying them on a pan, but then again, I found the most tedious part to be shredding the potato, which you’d end up doing either way.
Lesson learned: Potato was a little sticky on the waffle iron, so next time I’d use a spray to get oil on rather than a pastry brush.

Stay tuned for notes on some improvements I’ve made on the chard egg cupcakes from before!

[Broccoli & Spinach] Miso Slaw

As a kid, my mom would make steamed broccoli, and my favorite parts to eat were the little slices of tender stalk (outside bark was peeled off) that she would steam along with the usual tree-like shapes I would stick in bowls of rice to create a tiny diorama before eating. It wasn’t until years later that I learned other people don’t necessarily consider the stalk worth even cooking.  I found this combo while searching for recipes to use up the giant quantity of miso I will have left over from another one that calls for only a few tablespoons.

Miso Slaw
From The Kitchn’s recipe.

Pretty green close-up, post-mixing.
Pretty green close-up, post-mixing.

Miso dressing
1/3 cup rice vinegar
3 tablespoons yellow or red miso (note: check labels to ensure specific gluten-freedness)
3 large garlic cloves, peeled
2 teaspoons sugar
2 teaspoons chopped fresh ginger
2 teaspoons sesame oil
2 teaspoons soy sauce
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup mayonnaise

Chop chop chop chop chop chop, chop chop, blend.
Chop chop chop chop chop chop, chop chop, blend.

Step 1: mix everything in a blender.

Salad ingredients
4 broccoli stalks, julienned into bite-sized pieces*
4 cups chopped spinach
1/2 cup finely chopped sliced almonds

Step 2: mix dressing and salad ingredients in a large bowl. Garnish with almonds and chill or serve.

Consumed on Day 1 with a side of brown rice and baked tilapia.
Consumed on Day 1 with a side of brown rice and baked tilapia.

Today’s Recipe Rating:
Novelty Rating: 4 of 5 stars.
This was astonishingly a salad I was both happy to eat, and that I thought was good for me, and the flavors only seemed to get better on day 2 and day 3.
Likelihood of Repeat: 20% See below.
Lesson Learned: Unfortunately, being the thrifty person I am, *I did not buy “Trader Joe’s broccoli slaw,” so the amount of time it took to shred broccoli stalk myself was maddening, and did not feel equal to the amount of slaw I got out of it. Still seems weird that Trader Joe’s would sell something people often might thing to throw away, or could get out of spare stalk, though..

Guest Blog:
Parm-Crusted Chicken, Asparagus & 3 Bonus Recipes!

So first I must say I first had this from my sis Y_________. It was so good when she made it twice for me. So I had to ask her for the recipe because I needed a good main dish for a dinner/date I was making. Need something good to impress lol. The Parmesan Crusted Chicken was the main. Then Oven-Roasted Asparagus and just a normal salad on the side and Riesling for drinks.

-Alex J.

Parmesan Crusted Chicken

Ingredients
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves –if from frozen, try and cut thinner so the chicken is not too thick to cook in 30 minutes (shouldn’t be more than two finger-widths thick).
4 tsp. Italian seasoned dry bread crumbs (or regular bread crumbs + dry herbs), or however much you need to cover one side of chicken
optional: a little salt & pepper

Instructions
Combine mayo and cheese. Spread on chicken, then sprinkle with bread crumbs, salt & pepper. Bake at 425 degrees (F), 20-35 minutes or until thoroughly cooked, usually 30 minutes, at least. Safe temp for chicken to be cooked to is 160F.

Top: raw chicken with "white sauce." Bottom: chicken with sauce and herbs-pretend-breadcrumbs.
Top: raw chicken with “white sauce.” Bottom: chicken with sauce and herbs-pretend-breadcrumbs.

For reheating: bake at 425 degrees for about 5-8 minutes until you know it’s heated through, then broil on high for 1 minute to obtain slightly crispy exterior.

Can also freeze raw and bake 20-27 minutes plus broil.

Trying to impress I decided to prep some of the ingredients before I headed over to her place to make the food. Also she is a bit of a health food person so I decided to use light hellman’s mayo and just let her know it was a white sauce. Also I was able to pick the chicken from Whole Foods, some free range chicken from the meats section.

Being the person I am I happen to forget the dry bread crumbs. So I decided to improvise and use her Italian seasoning and rosemary. Lots of rosemary, ’cause I just love that spice and just bit of sea salt and pepper.

She had a gas oven and it only took 15 mins to cook. It was not raw but cooked enough and just juicy and good.

Oven-Roasted Asparagus (allrecipes.com)

Ingredients
1 bunch thin asparagus spears, trimmed
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
1 clove garlic, minced
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 tablespoon lemon juice

Instructions
Preheat an oven to 425 degrees F (220 degrees C).

Place the asparagus into a mixing bowl, and drizzle with the olive oil. Toss to coat the spears, then sprinkle with Parmesan cheese, garlic, salt, and pepper. Arrange the asparagus onto a baking sheet in a single layer.
Bake in the preheated oven until just tender, 12 to 15 minutes depending on thickness. Sprinkle with lemon juice just before serving.

I did not do much making the asparagus. This was her side. We were able to just put it in when the chicken was still cooking because it was the same temp.

Salad
Spinach with Mixed Greens
Dried Cranberries
Roasted Walnuts
Balsamic Vingerette

The salad -nothing really to it. I kind of just picked random ingredients and put them in the salad. Also I just put the walnuts on the stove top and put them on top of the salad. The balsamic was a good choice, surprisingly. I don’t really know much about salads but we both liked it.

Overall this meal was great. It did impress. So MISSION ACCOMPLISHED lol. Also forgot we had a Riesling for drinks. This is something that I would repeat for sure. Easy, fast and good. Would maybe pick another random side to mix it up though. Keep in mind the chicken says to use 4 breasts. It was too much for 2 people but leftovers for lunch, so, not that bad.

Wish I took more pictures but didn’t want to seem to be that person yet.

Ta-da! Breaking fast!
Ta-da! Breaking fast!

Breakfast FOOD!!

Another time for me to cook to impress. Instead of going out to brunch we decided to make food instead. I was able to find a there Whole Wheat, Oatmeal, and Banana Pancakes that just sounded great to make. For sides we decided to have some cut oranges, bacon and orange mango juice.

Whole Wheat, Oatmeal, and Banana Pancakes

Ingredients
1 cup uncooked rolled oats
1 cup whole wheat flour
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons dry milk powder
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 egg
2 cups milk
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 banana, mashed

Instructions
Place the rolled oats into the jar of a blender and blend until the texture resembles coarse flour. Whisk together the blended oats, whole wheat flour, all-purpose flour, brown sugar, dry milk powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a bowl; set aside.

Whisk together the egg, milk, vegetable oil, and vanilla. Stir in the mashed banana. Pour the egg mixture into the flour mixture and stir just until moistened. Let the batter stand for 5 minutes.

Heat a lightly oiled griddle over medium-high heat. Drop batter by large spoonfuls onto the griddle, and cook until bubbles form and the edges are dry, about 2 minutes. Flip, and cook until browned on the other side. Repeat with remaining batter.

First off when we walked over to Wedge, my phone died and I had to go off memory what we needed. I had to alter the recipe a bit. I didn’t add the dry milk powder and switch the whole wheat flour with just all-purpose flour. Also we added 2 ripe bananas instead of just one. Made it so much better.

After getting the batter prepared I do wish I read the other comments because we could have just mixed everything in the blender instead of using so many bowls that needed to be cleaned. Also this makes a ton of pancakes. We only made 4 pancakes and half the batter was still left.

What I do love about the recipe is that you mash the bananas in the mix and you can taste gooey banana parts in some bites of the pancakes. Also used real maple syrup. Makes it just so much better

Bacon was just fried and dried to crisp and we just cut up oranges.

Again this meal did impress yet again. MISSON SUCCESS!!

I would like to do these pancakes again but in a blender. I bet it would be a lot faster and easier. Also maybe with eggs and bacon and fruit. Good stuff.

 

That’s it for now. Thanks, Alex! Stay tuned for another recipe from another J_____ brother, coming soon!

P.S. This parmesan-crusted chicken recipe was originally from my friend good Jennifer from grad school, who got it off a *gasp* Hellman’s Mayo jar. Thanks, Jennifer!

P.P.S. Bonus points to Alex for cooking the other dish at the same time due to same temp requirements.

Mustard Lemon Cauliflower

This is a decent weekday recipe, based on the time spent, although you don’t get to just set it in the oven and forget it until it’s done. I cut the original amount of butter with olive oil so you can pretend it’s healthier. The initial recipe is based on one from the November 2006 issue of Bon Appétit available here. You could also just use olive oil, for a lactose-free version. Stay tuned for the next post! I’ve been working on cooking up some interesting posts for y’all.

roasted butter with a little cauliflower, atop quinoa.
roasted butter with a little cauliflower atop quinoa.

Cauliflower with Mustard-Lemon Butter

Ingredients:

  • 1 small head of cauliflower (about 1 3/4 pounds)
  • 1 teaspoon coarse kosher salt
  • 1-1.5 tablespoons butter
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons whole grain Dijon mustard
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons finely grated lemon peel

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Sunday Squash Roast – Stocking Up for the Apocalypse

The butternut squash planted late last spring is finally yielding ripened fruit. Due to the surprisingly longer processing time, i try to remember to only to roast butternut on a weekend, otherwise i end up eating around 10pm. With a solid sized squash like the one pictured, there’s always extra leftovers that can be frozen or portioned out for the week to put in salad, pasta or other meals.

skin, chop, chop, chop, mix.
skin, chop, chop, chop, mix.

Sunday Squash Roast

Serves 10

Ingredients:
* 1 small (about 1.5 pounds) butternut squash, see below for cubing tip
* 1 sweet potato, peeled and cubed
* 6 medium red potatoes, cubed
* 1 red onion, quartered
* 1 carrot, chopped in chunks
* 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
* 2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary
* 1/4 cup olive oil
* 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
* Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 475°F.
  2. Shortcut: stab w/fork several times, microwave for 2-3 minutes, slice off outer shell, cube and de-seed. This also cuts the original recipe’s roasting time by about 10 minutes (to the 25-30 minute range).
  3. In a large bowl, combine the squash, carrot, sweet potato, and red potatoes. Separate the red onion quarters into pieces and add them to the mixture.
  4. Note: it is very important to mix this separately before combining with the vegetables, otherwise the oil and vinegar don’t distribute for an even caramelization: in a small bowl, stir together thyme, rosemary, olive oil, vinegar, salt and pepper.
  5. Toss with vegetables until they are coated. Spread evenly on a large roasting pan.
  6. Roast for 25 to 30 minutes in the preheated oven, stirring every 10 minutes or until vegetables are cooked through and browned.

A derivative of “roasted vegetables with fresh herbs” from a random King County employees recipe listing.

roast, roast roast.
roast, roast roast.

Today’s Recipe Rating:
Novelty Rating:
1 of 5 stars.
I may have been making variations for four years, so it’s nothing new –but it has a pretty consistent and tasty result so I figured I’d post it here.
Likelihood of Repeat: 100%
So convenient as a filler for new leftover combinations, you can put it on salad, or add it to soup for more oomph, or eat it atop rice with a protein..
Lesson Learned: Fighting to slice the butternut squash into cubes is always a little more tedious than you expect, even after you microwave it to tenderize a little. I made this on a Sunday, but didn’t even really get to eating it until the next day because the processing + baking time took so long it missed the other dinner items that were done earlier at a decent time. You also don’t get a crisp a caramelization factor if you microwave it before baking. This always makes much more than I expect out of one butternut squash, too. I had enough to eat all week, plus a few servings to freeze for later. Thus, the title of this post.

Nom nom nom.
Nom nom nom.