Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Pizza, two ways.


Pizza.

It may be the perfect food.



And homemade is always better.

I used this recipe for the crust. It's a new one for me and so far I like it. It only makes enough for one pizza so I'm going to play with it and see if I can get more than one pizza out of one packet of yeast. But for now, it's just fine.

Night one, we topped our pizza with garlic and olive oil sauce (oil, minced garlic, red pepper flakes whisked together and brushed on), mozzarella, mushrooms, red bell peppers, prosciutto and arugula (added after it's out of oven) and it was downright delicious.

Night two was just me. I whipped up some pesto (fill blender with spinach and arugula, a hand full of walnuts, two cloves garlic, a generous hand full of parmesan cheese, drizzle in olive oil while blending) and brushed that one the partially cooked dough, topped it with mozzarella, roma tomatoes, mushrooms, shaved asparagus and goat cheese. MAJOR yum.

...graces...
1. Having a refrigerator door full of postcards, wedding and wedding related invites, and pics of my family.
2. No more 100+ degree weather! Geeze, summer could not end fast enough.
3. The Boys & Girls Club.
4. Crazy, Stupid, Love.  It was crazy, stupid, good.
5. Zara is now available online!!! Can't wait to spend some money before an upcoming trip to Napa...

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Easy.

This is not a food blog. 

It just so happens I have little other to talk about right now. I mean, I could tell you about the so-much-fun-I-wanted-to-cry-when-it-ended girls weekend I just had up at my lake house. Or about the fun gifts my dad brought me back from Colorado and Santa Fe. I could probably go on and on about my excitement over my brother moving back from LA and his super cute house (that I'm not jealous of at all) that his cute girlfriend is going to make look so awesome. There's plenty to say about how busy my summer has been; how many great books I've read lately; how awesome it is to be dating someone "in the industry" so I now get to see raw edits of unreleased movies. But for now, it's going to be food I talk about.

The other day I was trolling the internet for inspiration for dinner. I had no clue what I wanted, but I knew I wanted something easy. Like super easy. It was Monday after all. The Monday after the above mentioned girls weekend that left me so drained I literally did cry before bed on Sunday (no joke). So anything requiring effort sounded like way too much. Then I found this recipe and that was all I needed.  I did change it though, adding asparagus and mushrooms that needed to be used up. It was so easy and delicious, I can't wait to make it again. 


Simple Lemon Pasta
What I used:
1/2 lb pasta. I used pasta "flowers". They were very pretty.
olive oil
1/2 small onion, finely diced, aka. chopped very tiny (Lauren and Morgan)
2 cloves garlic, finely diced
a good shake of red pepper flakes
1/2 lb. white mushrooms, sliced
about 7 stalks asparagus, cut into chunks
3/4 c. frozen peas
1 c. cheese, I used a mixture of romano and parmesan
juice of 1 lemon

What I did:
Cook the pasta in boiling, salted water. While that cooks, heat oil in a small pan. Add onion, garlic and red pepper flakes. Cook just a few minutes, til soft and fragrant. Add mushrooms and cook on med-low heat til soft. When pasta is almost finished, scoop out about a c. of the boiling water (to thicken sauce later, if needed) and add the asparagus and peas to boiling pasta water.  When pasta is done, strain the whole pot. Add pasta, asparagus and peas back into hot pot. Pour in the mushroom/onion mixture. Add the cheese and lemon juice and stir. Add more cheese and a bit of the reserved pasta water if desired to make it a bit more saucy.   Find the biggest bowl you can and eat your delicious dinner out of that. On the couch. While watching Project Runway on your laptop.


...grace...
1. A Visit From the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan
2. Making room for a new roomie. (A boy!)
3. Ed Hardy koozies. Just trust me on this one.
4. Sharkey's bar at Grand Lake.
5. My sweet niece who just turned 10. She got an iPod touch for her birthday. We now text everyday when she is out of school. It makes my day.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

I'm back! And I made you something to eat.

So it's been awhile. I planned on playing catch up on all my life happenings, but it turns out I didn't have much to report, so I decided to share with you the one thing that rarely changes around here; good food. I'm really good at eating, so we'll just talk about that. Most of my meals are what I call "bowl meals" which is a really boring way of saying I eat things out of bowls. Lots of soups, beans and greens, stir fry's, and the like. It's a rare occasion that I make a meal that belongs on a plate and has separate parts. I'm a mixer. Things should be eaten together. Like lentils and rice. Here's my favorite way to eat it. 



 (I lost my camera charger, so I take pictures on my phone. They aren't great.)

What you need:
olive oil
1 onion, sliced or diced, whatever you fancy
1-2 cloves of garlic
2 carrots, diced
Grated ginger. I use fresh, and probably used around 1/2 Tb.
1/2-1tsp. each of tumeric, garam masala, ground red pepper, and cumin
1 bay leaf
1 c. of lentils
1/2 can coconut milk
1/2 c. frozen peas, or more if you accidentally spill a lot in the bowl. 
1 c. uncooked brown rice.

How you make it: (start to finish, this takes about 45 mins)
Start by cooking your rice according to package directions. Honestly, those somehow don't work for me, I always end up adding more water. So don't worry if that's the case for you as well. It'll make me feel better to know I'm not alone in this. 
Next, in a skillet (I use a big deep one), saute your onions in the oil for a few minutes until soft. Add the carrots and garlic, lots of S&P, and cook til the onions are really soft and yellow and the carrots begin to soften. It'll smell good, you'll know. Add all your spices, and stir.  I start with about 1/2 tsp. of each and add more later if needed. Pour in the lentils and add 2c. of water. Put a lid on it and go play Words With Friends while it comes to a boil. Check the liquid levels. The lentils will soak it all up but won't be done, so you can add in another cup or two of water OR vegetable broth (I did) and let it boil, gently, until the lentils are soft, which takes about 15 mins or more. Once the lentils are soft and liquid is absorbed, add the coconut milk and frozen peas. Cook til all is soft and yummy. Add more spices if needed, which they almost always are. By this time, your rice should be done. Serve the lentils over the rice and eat. This is really good with some naan or pita bread to scoop it up with. 


..grace..
1. Book club. Everyone should do it.
2. My brother being home! For good!
3. Having a lake house, especially when the heat is as ridiculous as it's been.
4. Red nail polish.
5. Pinterest.com. I'm obsessed. 

Friday, February 18, 2011

A yummy salad

After a 3 mile walk with my pup this morning, I came home ravenous. I was really craving a salad from my favorite place around town to get one, Cool Greens, but I wasn't really in the mood to shell out $12 for one, although they are so worth it. After a quick peek in the fridge I decided I had all the fixings for a great salad for free! 


For the dressing:
about 1/4 c. rice vinegar
2 small cloves garlic, or 1 regular size
salt and pepper
a sprinkle of dried Italian seasoning
about 1/4 c. grapeseed oil
Whisk all ingredients together and taste. I don't like the taste of oil in dressings, so I always end up adding more vinegar, but adjust the measurements and seasonings to fit what you like. 

For the salad: 
3-4 c. baby arugula and mixed greens. I think what I used is just called "baby arugula mix"
1 avacado, cubed
a couple of slices of red onion
about 1/4 c. sprouts
2-3 T. walnuts, roughly chopped
goat cheese crumbles, as much as you like
Throw all ingredients in a bowl big enough to hold them, except for the goat cheese and half the walnuts. Toss with the dressing (I didn't use it all), and transfer to a big plate. Top with remaining walnuts and goat cheese. Eat it up!  

This was a huge salad. And I ate every bite. I'm pretty sure my measurements are accurate, but it's a salad, you just add as much of whatever you like. I'm sure you all can handle that. 

...grace...
1. The new Radiohead album. Released a day early, it's real good stuff. 
2. Sex at Dawn: The Prehistoric Origins of Modern Sexuality by Christopher Ryan and Cacilda Jetha. Can't wait to discuss this one with the book club ladies.
3. Groupon and my American Apparel purchase.  
4. Wickles! I'm a full on addict now, thanks to Josiah. (Psst, the okra is amazing too)
5. Finding two pairs of flats (same pair, different colors) on sale BIG TIME at Dillard's. Finally found a replacement for my favorite yellow flats that I sadly had to retire. 

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

grace


I've had a few requests for my "graces" to be brought back. They weren't ever really gone, I just sort of lost the habit of thinking about them, which is sad because thinking of things that grace my life is such a natural thing for me to do. So they're back!  Starting now.

.grace.
1. BHLDN :  I haven't ever been much of a "wedding" girl. I think eloping sounds more romantic and unless I have a ring on my finger, I've never allowed myself to think *too much* about what my possible future wedding would be like. It's just not how I function. But then BHLDN came along. The wedding line from Anthropologie and Urban Outfitters that launched on Valentine's Day has me completely smitten. It's bad. I've already picked out three possible gowns for myself, bridesmaid dresses, and shoes. And the fact that it just so happens to have launched before I've ever been close to marriage has me thinking that maybe, just maybe, it was waiting for me.

2. Yogi teas, especially the blueberry slim life green tea.

3. Arcade Fire for the win!!! Finally The Grammy's were (sort of) worth watching again and they got a clue and rewarded a band who is actually talented, rocks hard, and completely deserved the win.

4. Snow days that include: multiple games of Monopoly, a big pot of vegetable soup, snowy walks with the Rose,  popcorn, Mad Men, lots of couch time, lots of cleaning, lots of wine at 3pm (it's a snow day, so day drinking is totally acceptable), more popcorn, mac and cheese, The Social Network, reading, reading, reading, and more popcorn.

5. I've become slightly obsessed with power foods, whole foods, the history of food, etc. These books and blogs have helped feed that obsession. The Whole Story blog from Whole Foods Market, In Defense of Food by Michael Pollan, and the cookbook Power Foods from Whole Living Magazine.

6. Okay, time to confess. I am absolutely in love with this album. I've resisted for so long, but I just can't help myself. The only thing that makes me feel better about it is that I got the album from the library for free so I'm not feeding the monster.

7. Half Price Books. This place is quickly becoming my favorite way to pass the time.

8. Having an early Valentine's Day celebration with girlfriends, a delicious home cooked meal, Apples to Apples, and plenty of laughter and wine.  And feeling the love on the real Valentine's Day.

9. My book club that keeps growing and growing.

10. Essie nail polish in Alligator Purse. It's my color of the week.

So tell me, what graces your life today?

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Orange & Almond cake

It's amazing how you can take a few simple ingredients and end up with something different every time, depending on how you manipulate said ingredients. Eggs, butter, sugar, flour, vanilla; mix those together and you get a cupcake, or bread, or a pie, cake, cookie, the possibilities are endless. When I bake, I'm always amazed at how all these things go from being separate, simple ingredients, to a weird mixture where I always ask "am I doing this right?!" and then suddenly, BAM! Batter is made! You did it right! Simply magic.

This cake is very simple. Dorie Greenspan calls it "Swedish Visiting Cake" but I altered from her recipe ever so slightly, so I'm just calling it Orange & Almond Cake. The fact that this can be made with one bowl without a mixer was a winner for me. And using my hands to incorporate orange zest into sugar then slowly adding all other ingredients made it, and me, feel very rustic. Perfect for a snow day.



Orange & Almond Cake
(adapted slightly from Dorie Greenspan's Baking From My Home to Yours)

What you'll need:
1 c. sugar, plus a little more for sprinkling
the grated zest of 1 small-medium orange
2 large eggs
1/4 tsp. salt
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1 c. all-purpose flour
1 stick (8T.) unsalted butter, melted and cooled.
About 1/4 c. sliced almonds

    Preheat the oven to 350* F. Butter a 9 in. cake pan, line with parchment paper, and butter that too. You can also bake this is a 9 in. cast iron skillet, which would really up the rustic factor. Sadly, my cast iron is way too big.
    Put the sugar in a medium bowl. Grate the orange zest directly into the bowl and blend with the sugar using your hands until sugar is moist and smells of oranges. Whisk in the eggs one at a time until well blended. Whisk in salt and vanilla extract. Switch to a rubber spatula and stir in the flour until well blended. Finally, fold in the melted butter.
    Pour batter into pan, scatter with slivered almonds and sprinkle with sugar. Place pan on a baking sheet and bake for 25-30 minutes, or until golden and a little crisp on the outside. Remove from oven and let cool slightly for 10-15 mins and serve! This is meant to be eaten with your hands, and preferably with morning coffee, or wine and your girlfriends.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Naysayers

I'm not really a resolutions type of girl. But I do like setting goals for myself, and making changes. After months of eating crap food, I decided that the beginning of 2011 would be a great time to change. I've given up meat for 1 month (but will probably stay on the veggie train indefinitely) and have put much more thought about what goes into my body. The best way for me to do this is to cook for myself, cut out processed foods, and only eat at "good" places when I dine out. So far, so good.

The only problem I've had with this is all of the naysayers. The people who ask "how are you getting protein?" "How are you getting iron?" "What are you eating?" Well, turns out plant based diets are FULL of protein and iron (read this and see for yourself). And you actually get more iron from greens than from meat. And I'm not an idiot. I'm not eating grilled cheese sandwiches and pasta for every meal. Adopting a new way of eating has really opened up my mind about food. Not that I've ever had a problem with cooking, or knowing what is or isn't healthy, but like everyone, I've had trouble staying on track before. Not this time.

The best advice I can give anyone who is trying to eat more whole foods (foods that are unaltered from nature. Well, except canned beans, tomatoes, frozen veggies and fruits...but you get the idea) is to shop on the outer edges of the grocery store. The only things you need from the aisles are spices, rice, grains, beans, etc. The outer edges are where it's at.

Anyway, here's what I had for lunch today. And it only took about 10 minutes to whip up.

Chickpea and Kale:
1/2 onion, diced
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
1 bunch of kale, washed and stems removed
1 can of chickpeas (garbanzo beans), rinsed and drained
juice of 1/2 a lemon
grapeseed oil (or olive), salt and pepper, crushed red pepper

In a medium skillet over medium heat, saute the onion in about 2 tablespoons of the oil. Season with salt, pepper, and crushed red pepper. After a few minutes, add the garlic and saute til fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the kale and stir around. Add a little lemon juice if pan looks dry.  Once kale begins to wilt, add the chickpeas and the rest of the lemon juice. Cook until kale is wilted and beans are heated through, adding a bit of water to pan if it looks dry. Season with more lemon juice, salt and pepper, if desired and serve.

I'll be sharing lots of recipes about my new "diet" but a really good place to get some information and helpful tips on healthy eating is from the current issue of  Real Simple magazine (it's the February issue). It has great information about staying on track, eating whole foods, and a list of super foods that everyone should be eating.

So tell me, what are your favorite vegetarian friendly meals?