31 January 2010


there's nothing simpler than pesto. its easy, tasty and quick. last night after rehearsal i didnt want to cook a huge, time consuming meal, i just wanted to eat. so i went and bought spinach, pine nuts, garlic, lemon and Parmesan cheese. spinach? thats right, i substituted spinach for basil; a) basil is not in season and b) spinach sounds like its healthier, right? sure. and, there's really no difference in taste, which is good, 'cause when you want pesto you want the flavor.

i dont measure when it comes to pesto, i just throw it all together. i dont have a food processor, and i recommend using one rather than a blender, but use what you have.
makes a lot, i always make too much, use what i want then freeze the rest. i read somewhere a long time ago that you could freeze pesto in an ice cube tray, then you have a small amount of what you need, when you want it.
  • a big handful (and more) baby spinach
  • garlic, 3 colves (ish), minced
  • a handful of pine nuts (or walnuts, chopped)
  • half a lemon
  • salt and pepper
  • olive oil
1. throw your spinach and pine nuts into your blender (food processor), pulse until combined
2. add garlic, pulse
3. squeeze in as much lemon as you'd like
4. slowly drizzle in the olive oil while blender is on mix/whatever speed you're using, mix for a bit. keep pouring in the olive oil but take a few breaks to make sure you're not over adding; you dont want your pesto to be too oily.
5. when satisfied with the consistency, add approximately 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese and salt and pepper to taste, mix a bit more.
6. add to your pasta - that you already began cooking before you even started making the pesto, so it was all ready at the same time.

additions: i added grape tomatoes to my pasta and pesto, you can also throw in some chicken, other veggies or even a few toasted pine nuts. get creative - thats the fun part of cooking. i even toyed with the idea of adding some hot pepper (surprise, surprise).


29 January 2010


one thing about the way i cook...i can't cook just for myself.i just can't seem to get it right. i use too much all the time, i think i learned this habit from my grandmother. she used to cook for an army and we had leftovers from Christmas, Thanksgiving, Easter, birthdays - anything forever. there was always enough for a whole meal for more than 2 people. she was good like that. we always had turkey, potatoes and gravy for open face turkey sandwiches...yum, but i digress.

i find it much more difficult to cook for 1 than to cook a meal for 6 people. this leaves me with is leftovers. tons of leftovers. which is nice. MOST of the time. its nice to have something to take to work the next day, or two, but i also get sick of what i am eating or i forget, which is more often the case. when i lived with my sister, she hated leftovers, so we always took stuff home from eating out, but neither of us ever ate them. again, more often than not, i forgot. i am glad that i have gotten better about it, it may be because in my old age i'm getting more frugal about how and where i spend my money...who knows!

but i was searching the inter-web on the "whats and hows" of keeping leftovers...and some of the "tips" shocked me with how common sense they seemed. my favorites were:
  • Never taste leftover that are of questionable age or safety (really? thanks internet)
  • As a general rule, never keep leftover for more than 4 days (alright, guilty... i keep food probably longer than i should. i haven't gotten sick yet - maybe i have an immensely strong immune system? or, i just keep our fridge really cold.
  • When leftover have been in the refrigerator too long or they look or smell unusual, throw them out! Anytime you are in doubt about the freshness or safety of any food, dispose of it. (wait, so i'm not supposed to eat that mac and cheese that has little furry green clusters on it, darn'it. i was looking forward to lunch.)

...point? no. just sharing.

28 January 2010

snow! umbrella?

stuff done: it snowed for like a split second this morning. it was beautiful. i love snow. what i dont get is why the umbrella's new york? fine, snow is wet and you want to stay dry...but really. forcible avoid that lone snowflake from landing on your nose? nope. not for me.

and new yorkers dont know how to use umbrellas anyway...people have no concept of other people with umbrellas. dont keep your umbrella right on top of your head, you'll poke someone's eye out! and 90% of us are about the same height and quite frankly, i dont want my eyesight damaged because you have no idea how to carry an umbrella, new york.


phew. its out. regardless, the snow was here and now its gone but it was lovely and made my morning.

27 January 2010

i love the word quinoa (keen-waa...keeeeen-waaaaaaaahhh)

stuff done: Mediterrarean Quinoa Bowl. i cannot believe how easy this was b.c it was so good! i discovered this on sprouted kitchen today. i really like that site. it always has tasty (healthy-er) food.

anyway. made it for dinner. tops 30 minutes. i added poached chicken for protien. i also increased the amount of broccolinis. they added a great crunch. i also took out the capers (add a 1/4 cup rinsed and drained when you add the red peppers, if you're interested). the only thing ... i dont think i cook quino right, its always on the mushy-er side, dont get me wrong, this meal was great, but i just think i do something not quite right. 'nuff said. eat up!
mediterranean quinoa bowl
makes 2 big bowls, with leftovers for tomorrow!
adapted from here

  • 1 Cup Quinoa, dry
  • 4 Broccolinis
  • 4 to 6 oz. Block of Feta Cheese, cut in cubes
  • 1 Cup Roasted Red Peppers, cut in slivers (I use jarred in the off season)
  • 1 Chicken Breast (*leave out chicken you have a great veggie meal!)
  • 1 Cup Chickpeas, cooked
  • 3 Tbsp. Flat Leaf Parsley, finely chopped
  • 2 tsp. Dried Oregano
  • Generous pinch of Sea Salt
  • Fresh Ground Pepper
  • 1 Meyer Lemon
  • 1 Tbsp. Good Quality Olive Oil
1. For the quinoa, typically, bring two cups water and one cup dry quinoa to a boil. Cover and simmer for about 15 minutes. Place the broccolini right on top after ten minutes (who wants to dirty another pot? - good point sp.k!) and cover to finish the quinoa and the broccolini will steam on top. (i should have put the broccolinis in for more time, they were more on the crunchy side) Remove the broccolini to a cutting board, and transfer the quinoa to a large bowl and fluff with a fork.
2. While the quinoa is cooking, poach your chicken. To do this, place the chicken breast in enough water to cover it, bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Once it reached a boil, turn down heat to simmer, cover and let cook for about 20 minutes. (until your chicken is not pink in the middle anymore)
3. Toss the red pepper slivers, chickpeas, dried oregano and salt and pepper to the quinoa and stir. Give the broccolini a rough chop and toss it in the bowl. Squeeze the juice of the entire meyer lemon (avoiding seeds) and the olive oil, stir again.
4. Lastly, cut the feta into small cubes (easiest if done straight from the fridge or even let it sit in the freezer for a few minutes). Add the cubes and the parsley to the quinoa and give it a gentle fold. At this point, it is probably a tad warmer than room temperature, which is great. If you’d rather it cold, let it sit in the fridge for about 30 minutes to cool down.

22 January 2010

soup, soup-a-doup, soup-a-doup-doup

le sigh. i made split-pea soup, a long time ago. i should have posted immediately, i didnt, now i dont remember my process. i have fun pictures and the recipe!!

Split Pea Soup
makes 4 bowls (or more)
adapted from here


  • 2 to 3 slices of thick-cut, best-quality bacon, diced
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 3 medium garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 medium carrots, peeled and diced
  • 2 celery ribs, diced
  • 2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves
  • 1/4 cup white wine
  • 4 cups chicken stock (homemade or low-sodium/store bought)
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 1/2 cups split peas
1. In a large, heavy soup pot, cook the diced bacon over medium heat until it begins to brown (about 5 minutes).
2. Add the onions, garlic, carrots, celery and thyme to the bacon; stir and cook for several minutes, until the vegetables begin to soften (about 5 minutes).

3. Add wine, using a wooden spoon to scrape up any brown bits on the bottom of the pan.
4. Add the stock, water and peas; bring to a boil.
5. Cover, reduce heat and cook the soup over medium-low heat for an hour to an hour-and-a-half, until most of the split peas have broken down and the soup reaches your desired consistency.
6. enjoy this...it was so good. (i even threw a dollop of greek yogurt into the soup...delish!)

NYE Dinner ... long over due

so, for new years, we wanted to do something nice and simple but not boring, so we had a few friends over for dinner and then went our separate ways (read: those kickin' parties we were all invited to...ha).

dinner was delightful and was full of laughs and great music. the after dinner bar adventure was, well, it was fun. however, i think as i get older i am learning that i do not like loud bars. i don't really even like drunk people. i know its hypocritical b.c. on numerous occasions i AM one of those drunk people...but when you're not plastered like the rest of the crowd, it, well, not fun. (am i boring?!?!)

anyway, food...matter at hand. we were going to have a lavish meal of risotto and many (veggie) sides but opted for veggie lasagna and salad and bread and wine, lots and lots of wine. my boss gave me this amazing cookbook by mark bittman, how to cook everything vegetarian
for christmas. its lovely, you should get it too. i used that book and a recipe i borrowed from the pioneer woman for my sauce. i added a red pepper at the top, while the pan is getting hot, i sprinkle in some red pepper flakes until they get fragrant, then i follow the rest of the instructions. I also added 3 or 4 shakes of cayenne pepper. also, i'm finding that as i get older i am developing more of a desire to put more hottness into EVERYthing i am eating. maybe my taste buds are failing, maybe i'm copying my father or maybe i have a terrible sinus problem just like he does that eliminates flavors for you so you have to spice everything so that you can taste it. this would be a tragedy if accurate (sorry dad).

(recipes for all to follow.)

for dessert. oh dessert,you guys. it was sweet and syrupy - gooey, flakey and AWESOME with vanilla ice cream. apple dumplings ya'll. apple dumplings. this was again from the pioneer woman, gotta say, i love that ree drumond. she's crazy good in the kitchen, she's funny, she's quirky, she's crazy, she's interesting...i think if i
actually knew her, we'd be friends. i mean, i hope we'd be friends. :) the only sort of loonie thing was the fact that dessert calls for a whole can of mountain dew. ew, right? wrong. amazing. i think the mountain dew gives it that gooey effect.

i'd suggest trying all of the food made for our new years...they are simple crowd pleasers.
Pastor Ryan’s Bolognese Sauce
(sans the Bolognese part)
this recipe is adapted from here


  • ½ cups Olive Oil
  • 1-½ cup Grated Carrots
  • 1 whole Large Red Onion, Diced
  • 2 Tablespoons Dried Oregano
  • 2 Tablespoons Dried Basil Flakes
  • 1 can (6 Ounce) Tomato Paste
  • 5 cloves Garlic, Minced
  • 1 cup (to 2 Cups) Red Wine (i felt like 2 cups was too much, made it too wine-y)
  • 2 Tablespoons Worcestershire
  • 2 cans (28 Ounce) Whole Tomatoes
  • 1 cup Milk
  • Salt And Pepper, to taste
  • Fresh Parmesan Cheese
  • red pepper flakes (for the bold)
  • cayenne pepper (for the daring)
Preparation Instructions
1. Heat the red pepper flakes in a large Dutch oven or skillet over medium heat until pepper is fragrant, add oil, let heat. Add grated carrots and onions and cook for a few minutes. Make a well in the center of the mixture, and then throw in oregano and basil. Use fresh if you have it; if you don’t, it’s fine. Cook for a few minutes, gradually stirring it into the carrot mixture.
2. Make another well. Add tomato paste and let it heat. Add garlic and stir to combine.

3. Make a well in the center of the mixture and add red wine. Stir together. Add Worcestershire and stir. Add canned tomatoes. Finally, pour in milk, stir, and let simmer for 30 minutes to 2 hours—however long you need.

from How to Cook Everything Vegetarian by Mark Bittman
makes 6 to 8 servings

  • Salt
  • 12 dried lasagna noodles
  • 2 Tablespoons softened butter or extra virgin olive oil
  • Tomato Sauce (recipe above)
  • 3 cups cooked spinach, squeezed dry and chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups ricotta, plus more as needed
  • 1 1/2 cups mozzarella, plus more as needed
  • 2 cups freshly grated Parmesan, plus more as needed
  • Freshly ground black pepper
1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and salt it. Cook the noodles, 6 at a time, until they are tender but still undercooked (they will finish cooking as the lasagna bakes). Drain and then lay the noodles flat on a towel so they don't stick.
2. Preheat the oven to 400F. Grease a rectangular baking dish with the butter or olive oil, add a large dollop of tomato sauce, and spread it around. Put a layer of noodles (use 4) in the dish, trimming any overhanging edges; top with a layer of tomato sauce, one-third of the spinach, and one-fourth of the ricotta and Parmesan. Sprinkle some salt and pepper between the layers of tomato sauce and spinach if needed.
3. Repeat the layers twice and top with the remaining noodles, tomato sauce, ricotta, mozzarella, and Parmesan; the top should be covered with cheese; add more ricotta and Parmesan as needed.
4. Bake until the lasagna is bubbling and the cheese is melted and lightly browned on the top, about 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and let rest for a few minutes before serving; cool completely, cover well, and refrigerate for up to 3 days; or freeze.

(sadly I have no pictures of these puppies)
this recipie was STOLEN from here

  • 2 whole Granny Smith Apples
  • 2 cans (8 Oz. Cans) Crescent Rolls
  • 2 sticks Butter
  • 1-½ cup Sugar
  • 1 teaspoon Vanilla
  • Cinnamon, To Taste
  • 1 can (12 Oz.) Mountain Dew Soda
Preparation Instructions
1. Peel and core apples. Cut each apple into 8 slices each. Roll each apple slice in a crescent roll. Place in a 9 x 13 buttered pan.
2. Melt butter, then add sugar and barely stir. Add vanilla, stir, and pour entire mixture over apples. Pour Mountain Dew around the edges of the pan. Sprinkle with cinnamon and bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes. Serve with ice cream, and spoon some of the sweet sauces from the pan over the top.

WARNING: Prepare this dish at your own risk. It is beyond imaginable.