Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Coming Clean

Listen, you guys, I have to to get something off my chest. Let's treat this like confession and maybe I can still go to heaven.

Forgive me, Father, I have told a lie: I keep telling my friends and family that I hate soup.

I say "I hate soup", but in my head it goes: “I hate soup. Well, except for phô. And tom yum soup. And Liz’s french onion soup with the cheese on top. Oh, and when Val makes beef stew. Does stew count as soup?” It goes for days. 

Mags’s Stupid-Easy Coconut Chicken Soup
4 cups chicken broth
1 can coconut milk
1 jalapeno, diced (I seeded mine)
2” piece of ginger, minced
like 6 cloves of garlic, minced
zest of 1 lime
juice of that same lime
1 stalk of lemongrass, cut into 2” pieces and bruised
1-2 lbs chicken breast, cooked and sliced
1 red pepper, chopped
¾ bag of snow peas, cut in half
Mushrooms, cut in half
Cilantro (if you’re in to that)

I’m not kidding, this is the friggin’ easiest soup ever. Put the broth, coconut milk, jalapeno, ginger, garlic, lemongrass and lime zest in a big pot and bring to a boil, then simmer for 10 minutes.

Stir in lime juice, then add the chicken (left-over chicken works really well) and veggies, and simmer for 10 more minutes. (You could add onions or like par-cooked potatoes or zucchini or broccoli or whatever sounds good. I just used what I had.)

Just before service add sriracha, sambal and/or salt to taste. I usually put a fair amount of spicy stuff in it because the coconut milk tends to cancel some of it out. I am also kind of a masochist when it comes to spicy things.

Serve over rice.

I put a shitload of cilantro on it before I eat it, but that’s not required.
AND YOU’RE DONE. Take a damn bow.

Another thing about this recipe is how simple it would be to make it vegetarian. Just substitute the chicken broth for veggie broth and throw in some tofu for protein instead of chicken.
Mmm... soup.

If you’re cooking for one (I feel you, bro) this keeps pretty well in the fridge for a few days. It might separate, but just mix it up before you dish it out and you’ll be golden.

Holy butts am I addicted to this song:

I could just listen to it on repeat for days. I hope the album is this good all the way through.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Vegan Spiced Coconut and Banana Pancakes (w/ tropical fruit)

New York winter officially baffles me.
One day it's 15, then next it's 55.
I walk out the door equipped with long johns, wool hats and gloves, umbrellas and am never properly ready for the weather.
I'm going to Alaska next week. It's -10 there. It's going to be a major temperature and culture shock.
Making these tropical pancakes didn't help. I'm looking forward to summer. I can't fathom -10 and snow right now.

Vegan Spiced Coconut and Banana Pancakes (heavily adapted from Bon App)

Fruit Salad
- fruit- chopped (if you don't know how to do this, I can't help you)
- 2 Tbsp maple syrup

Mix everything, set aside.

Pancakes (makes about 20)
 2 1/2 c whole wheat flour
1 c unsweetened shredded coconut
2 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp cloves
3/4 tsp cinnamon
3/4 tsp all spice
2 13oz cans light, unsweetened coconut milk
1 1/4 c warm water
2 Tbsp maple syrup
1 Tbsp vanilla extract
2 bananas- mashed
1 Tbsp fresh ginger- minced.
Vegetable oil

- Preheat oven to 250.
- Whisk dry ingredients in a big bowl.
- Mix wet ingredients- milk, water, syrup, vanilla in a smaller bowl.
- Add wet indredients into dry bowl. Stir to mix. Mix in banana and ginger. Add more water if too thick for your tastes.
- Heat griddle over medium high heat, brush with vegetable oil, pour pancakes batter (about 1/4 c batter for each),  flip when small bubbles form in the middle. Cook until golden on both sides, transfer to baking pan and oven until ready to eat.
- Spoon the fruit salad over the pancakes. Or eat with yogurt, peanut butter, syrup, nutella etc... I usually find the toppings the best part of pancakes, but I really really liked these.

One album I'm really excited for is John K Samson's solo album, dropping on Jan 24th.
The song "When I write my Master's Thesis" was NPR's song of the day the other day.
It's really witty, head bopping and makes me stoked to hear the rest of the album next week!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Blogger friend!

Just a quick post to tell you all about a friend with a new (awesome) blog!

The Bean Countress!

Some of us have known the Countress since we were teenagers, so we are just thrilled to follow her new blog. Go check it out!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Beans and Rice, Rice and Beans

Thus is the diet of a hemorrhaging money, starving theatre artist:
Soup- of the canned and boxed varieties
chickpea salad
black beans and rice

The main staple is beans and rice.
I eat beans and rice for at least one meal every day (no joke).

I was getting a little tired of this culinary delight, but then came across this recipe from Bon Appetit (saved again by the BA. I changed it quite a bit, made it vegetarian, didn't make the chicken or salsa). If you're feeling fancy or having a dinner party and want to impress, these updated black beans and rice will do the trick!

Special occasion black beans (adapted to vegetarian from Bon Appetit)
1 green pepper- chopped
1 red onion- chopped
2 Tbsp olive oil
3 garlic cloves- minced
1 tsp black pepper
1 tsp red pepper flakes
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp cumin
3 c vegetable broth
2 15oz cans black beans- drained

- Combine onion, bell pepper and olive oil in a large sauce pan. Cook over medium heat until vegetables are softened, about 6-7 minutes. Add garlic and spices. Stir constantly for 2 minutes.
- Stir in broth and beans, bring to a boil then reduce the heat to medium. Simmer for 8-10 minutes, until the sauce is thickened. Mash some of the beans with the back of a spoon and stir occasionally.
- Serve with rice, potatoes, on a tortilla, with siracha etc.... Or get really fancy and throw some fresh vegetables in. But let's not get too big for our britches here.

I am waaaaaaay behind the times on this one. So far behind the times that I'm a little ashamed to call myself a Decemberists fan, but I finally bought THE KING IS DEAD.
I know Mag's has done a review of this, but I want to too.

Americana is the best thing to happen to The Decemberists since sliced bread.
Gillian Welch is the best thing to happen to The Decemberists since smart phones.
KING is my new favorite Decemberists album since CRANE WIFE.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Blogsgiving Part 1- Toasty, Bourbon-y nuts.

Everyone wants Thanksgiving recipes now... right?

Last year I cooked and controlled the entire Thanksgiving dinner for 8.
It was amazing and crazy stressful.
This year, we went to an Orphan Potluck style.
Only requirements were to bring food and wine.
and more wine.

Toasted Nut Tart (adapted from Bon App
A different take on Pecan Pie
You'll need a 9' tart pan with a removable bottom. I have one you can borrow.

1 c all purpose flour
2 Tbsp cornstarch
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 c butter, room temp.
1/4 c sugar
2 tbsp powdered sugar
1 egg

- Mix flour, cornstarch, salt and baking powder in a medium bowl.
- In a food processor, beat butter, sugar and powdered sugar until pale yellow.  Add egg and beat to blend.
- Add dry ingredients to bowl in 3 batches. Mix to blend. Gather into a ball, flatten in a disc. Wrap in plastic and chill for at least 1 hour.
Can be made at least 2 days ahead. Keep chilled
- Preheat oven to 375. Roll out dough on a lightly floured surface into a 12" round. Transfer to pan, press into the bottom and up the sides of the pan. Trim the overhanging dough so it's flush and reserve the extras (to patch the crust). Prick the dough all over with a fork and freeze for 10 mins.
-Cover with foil, fill the foil with pie weights (rice or beans work). Bake until edges of crust are starting to turn golden, about 35 mins. Remove the foil and beans, patch any cracks with the remaining dough, return to the oven and bake until golden all over, about 15 mins. Remove from oven and let cool completely.
Can be made 1 day ahead, store airtight in pan at room temp. (Only if you don't have roaches...)
In lieu of rolling pin, use a glass (or wine bottle). 

1/2 c unsalted pistachios, chopped
1/2c hazelnuts, skins rubbed off, chopped. (try to buy without skins, getting them off are a bitch)
1/4c pine nuts
1/4c butter
1c packed brown sugar
1c light corn syrup
1 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 Tbsp bourbon
3 large eggs
Powdered sugar

- preheat oven to 350. Spread nuts out on 3 separate baking sheets. Toast nuts until fragrant and brown (5 mins for pistachios, 10 for pine and 15 for hazelnuts). Remember to toss the nuts throughout the baking and check often, they burn quick.
- Melt butter in a saucepan over medium-high heat, Cook until golden brown, about 5 minutes. (again, check often, it burns fast (are you noticing a trend here?))
-Stir brown sugar, corn syrup, salt and vanilla in a medium bowl, stir in eggs, browned butter and nuts. Pour into tart shell.
-Bake, rotating halfway through, until filling it set around the edges and jiggles slightly in the center when nudged, about 1 hour. Tent foil over the crust if it gets too brown, cool on a rack.
- Dust with powdered sugar.

Sooooo..........I burned it.
I blame my wonky gas oven.
Seriously, keep an eye on those nuts.

New music obsession:
A indie, electronic/pop duo from Saratoga Springs (I spent a month in Saratoga this summer... I'm not surprised that this band comes from there, it's a weird town), I'm really digging their new EP- Nightlife.

I really want to see them in concert. Apparently they incorporate their visual art into their concerts. That is something I can get behind.

KDP Reunion + Epic Blogsgiving

Connie and Mags visited for Thanksgiving!

And Monagle crashed in the spare bedroom while he looked a place of his own.
It was the reunion to end all reunions.

They'd never been to New York before.
They were scared of the subway.
They are still scared of New Yorkers.
They got lost pretty easily.
I don't know how life happened before Google Maps.

We made a pumpkin pie at 2am.
My kitchen capacity was tested with 3 people. (Monagle doesn't cook... See Fig Newtons)
We cooked a lot.... A LOT.

Keep an eye out for T-day recipes/adventures.

2 am Pumpkin Pie

Roasted Pear and Cranberry Salad
Ninja Bread Men

Cranium + Wine= The reason why Hannah's not allowed to play board games 

There are more photos coming, as soon as I can raid Connie's camera. Look out for sidewalk sushi picnics, sleeping on public transportation, pumpkin hummus, gingerbread whales, waiting in line to see Harry Potter dance and sing and many empty bottles of wine.

This is pretty amazing:
The Recipe Project
If you love me, you'll buy me this book.
It's a band that's put together a book and CD.
They take top chef's recipes and sing them word for word.

There is something that is so right about a world that can create this.