Thursday, March 22, 2012

"I know we just met, but will you marinade me?"

I have a confession.

I've been vegetarian for about a year now, which is all fine and dandy (it's a lot easier in NY. Vegetarian in Alaska means you only eat fish).

But sometimes I really really miss steak.
There is nothing in vegetarian land that stands up to a juicy rib eye (still mooing, if possible).

But that doesn't stop me from trying to find one.

Cauliflower steaks with olive relish and tomato sauce (Adapted from Bon App)
Serves 4

1 large head of cauliflower- trimmed, cored, leaves removed etc.
1/2 c black olives, diced
3 sundried tomatoes- slices
3 1/2 Tbsp olive oil
2 Tbsp parsley- chopped
3 garlic cloves
2 plum tomatoes- cored and quartered

-Slice cauliflower into 4 1/2" "steaks." There will be loose ends that fall apart. Save these, finely chop them and put in a bowl.
-In said bowl, throw in the olives, sundried tomatoes, 1 Tbsp oil, parsley and lemon juice. Mix, season the relish with salt and pepper.
-Preheat oven to 400. Heat 1 Tbsp oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Working in 2 batches, cook the cauliflower steaks until golden brown, about 2 mins per side. Add 1 Tbsp oil between the batches. Transfer steaks to a large rimmed baking sheet, roast the cauliflower until tender, about 15 mins
-Return the skillet to medium high heat, add garlic cloves and tomatoes (cut side down). Cook until tomatoes are browned, transfer to the baking sheet in the oven (can place them on top of the cauliflower) and roast until tender, about 12 mins.
-Transfer garlic, tomatoes and 1/2 Tbsp oil to a blender. Blend until smooth.
-Put cauliflower steak on a plate, put relish and sauce on top. Pretend it's a cow.

All you young'uns talk about something called THE HUNGER GAMES.
I've been able to glean that it's about kids killing each other.
Because that's what we want our youth growing up with.

The soundtrack though....
It's futuristic Appalachian music. And that is the best description of my musical leanings I've ever heard.

Carolina Chocolate Drops, Neko Case, The Decemberists... it's almost too good to be true.
Almost is the key word, it also features work by:
Taylor Swift
Kid Cudi
Maroon 5 (yeah...they're still around).

So touche Hunger Games. I really can't make up my mind about you.

Guess who has two thumbs, speaks limited French and is going to see ANDREW BIRD next week!


How to Be Succesful at Your Office (Without Really Trying)

Hey y’all.
Today’s the day that Mags gets all semi-homemade in this bish.
Everyone who works in an office knows the quickest way to your co-workers' hearts is by providing an eating opportunity. If it’s your birthday, it’s your lucky day. Everyone will appreciate you more because they know you are the underlying reason behind their 3:00 piece of carrot cake.
But what if you’re the one responsible for the cake? This is a ridiculously easy recipe for when you forgot to bake something the night before and you’re getting sick of Costco apple pie. (Note: this is impossible.) It’s hard to describe what is so great about this cake (it's definitely not its given name, that's for sure); it’s easy, gooey, and amazingly tasty (especially under some vanilla ice cream.)

I was too slow to get a picture of the finished product.

This is all you need.
Dump Cake (from one of my favorite co-workers, Michelle.)

1 box yellow cake mix
1 stick butter (1/2 cup) (melted)
1 21oz can cherry pie filling
1 21oz can crushed pineapple
chopped walnuts (as many as you want)

Preheat the oven to 350°.

Spray the bottom of a 9”x13” glass baking pan. Pour in cherry pie filling and pineapple and mix until evenly distributed in the pan. Sprinkle cake mix over the fruit and, well, poke it with a plastic spoon until just a little bit of the fruit starts to show through the powder. This shouldn’t be completely combined, there will still be a lot of dry powder on the top of the cake. Drizzle the butter evenly over the top and sprinkle with the chopped walnuts.

Michelle demonstrates the poking procedure.

Bake 45 minutes or until the top is golden brown and bubbly.

Let cool for a few minutes or you will suffer a molten-cherry related incident.

Serve with ice cream, trust me.


I’m probably a little late to the table but, YOU GUYS. Listen to this!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

You’re spicier than Sriracha

I've had 4 separate people send this to me in the past week. 
It's how I try to live my life. 

Keep an eye out for some upcoming Sriracha recipes.

Is that a bulb of fennel in your pocket or are you just happy to see me?

Will you let me be the avocado in your turkey sandwich? 

Are you into salads? Because I think I'm falling in lovage.

I have a million of these.

Quinoa, Fennel and Pomegranate Salad
From Chef Yotam Ottolenghi

1/4 c (+ 1 Tbsp) olive oil
2 medium fennel bulbs, cut lengthwise into 1/4" thick slices
Kosher salt
black pepper
2 Tbsp lemon juice
1 1/2 tsp ground cumin
1 1/2 c quinoa
1 lemon
2 Serrano chile's- seeded and chopped
1/2 c chopped fresh cilantro
1/2 c chopped fresh mint
1 Tbsp chopped fresh dill
1 c pomegranate seeds

-Heat 1/4 c oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add fennel, season with salt and pepper. Cook, stir occasionally until fennel is tender and lightly golden, about 10-12 mins. Stir in lemon juice and cumin, cook for 1 minute. Season with salt and pepper and set aside.
-Bring quinoa and 3 c water to a boil in saucepan. Cover and simmer for 15 mins. Remove from heat, fluff with a fork and dump in a bowl.
-Using a small sharp knife, cut the peel and pith (the white stuff) from the lemon, break apart the segments and cut between the membranes to release the meat; similar to peeling a grapefruit (If you have any cuts on your hands...consider yourself warned).
-Add lemon, remaining juice, 1 Tbsp oil, fennel, chile's and herb to the quinoa bowl. Toss, season with salt and pepper and sprinkle with the pomegranate seeds.

My Love Letter to Andrew Bird
Dear Mr. Bird, 
Here we are again, BREAK IT YOURSELF is a masterpiece. You've created an album that makes me cry, laugh, think and dream at the same time. 
Like a fine wine, your songwriting abilities only get better with age. Your vocabulary puts me to shame. 
You're layered like an onion, but you invited us into those layers, tasting a little bit of your world. 

Plus, you live on a farm and I think that's pretty swell. 
Plus (and you know this), you were on the COLBERT REPORT the other night. And that's pretty awesome too. 

Your adoring fan, 

PS- (you know this too) you whistle like a mother. And that's pretty cool too. 

Friday, March 9, 2012

Swamp thing smoothie

My 25th birthday is tomorrow and I still eat cereal for breakfast About a year ago I switched from skim milk to unflavored almond milk but I still eat fairly sugary crap for breakfast = no bueno. With some gentle guidance from Renai and Val I recently undertook one of those damn hippie cleanses from The Herbalist, no I don't wanna talk about it, yes it was traumatic, yes I cheated on like day 5, no I don't need you to judge me. ANYway I did learn something from this cleanse and that was the way of the breakfast smoothie. I jammed out with the breakfast smoothie throughout the whole 10 day (5 if you paid attention about my cheating) cleanse. Just this week I decided to have a smoothie instead of cereal for allllll of my weekday breakfasts. A big change for this adult child but that's just how awesome the breakfast smoothie really is! You really can't argue with getting some of your 5 fruits and veggies a day first thing in the morning and I stay full until lunch so that's a lot win-win in your mason jar!
Did you know that your average blender blade attachment thingy fits perfectly on your average mason jar? Cuz I didn't until Pinterest told me. It's true, I'll wait while you go try it on for size....done? Ok. Now how effing cool is that anyway? It cuts the amount of dishes needed to make and enjoy a smoothie by half! Half! Math! So what I do is prep most of my smoothie at night before I go to bed and it goes something like this:
Breakfast Smoothie:
- half of a peeled orange, chopped up
- half of an average carrot, chopped up
- some kale or chard if I have any, it really adds that nice green color to your brekafast
- a handful of hand-picked, frozen, wild Alaskan blueberries (what you don't have those? store bought will do)
-small portions of any other random fruit you have laying around, I normally toss in an apple slice or a couple strawberries, and 1/2 a cucumber is a super refreshing addition. We get a Full Circle Farms box every other week so I almost never buy fruit or veg from the store and end up just using whatever random stuff I have before it goes bad.
1. At this point I just put the blade thingy on it and stick it in my fridge
2. My roomie wakes up right when I leave so I wait until just before I leave to toss in the rest of the ingredients and blend it up cuz I'm nice and I want him to have a good day/ not hate me for waking him up before his alarm. Love me some not-cranky Joel Ion!

Second half of ingredients:
-a teaspoon of chia seeds
-probably about 1/4 cup of soy or almond milk
-6-8 ice cubes

3. blend like the dickens. My blender is rad but the little thing is just a blender, I know fancier folks have those vita mix thingies, and more power to them but kitchen redundancy and whatnot so I make-do with my 2nd hand blender. I make a royal racket blending because I don't like my smoothie to be really liquiddy, I prefer a more gelatinous mixture (thanks chia seeds) so it's just harder to grind down at first, turns out great.
4. put a lid on it and you're done! I like to drink mine at work straight out of the jar, it really grosses my boss out, he's the one that calls it a swamp thing.

Listening to: The sweet sound of my blender when I make my brekkie and my favesies playlist on Spotify when I'm sipping on it at my desk.
combine with latte from The Rookery and you're good to go!

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Roastin' With My Homies

Hey y'all.

So, I'm the 'mostly silent' partner in this whole KDP blog, but my own pride and my own shame have finally played enough of a part to convince me that it was time to actually make an effort and write up a post. In my own defense, several half-assed efforts have been made in the past, but none have yet come to a complete fruition. Until now!

Aren't you lucky?

In an effort to really impress - or not - I'm giving you the DL on how to roast a whole chicken. That's right, the whole shoot'n'match. One bird, one pan, one temperature setting = BOOYAH. All up in your mouth. Starch, veggies, protein... I'm not kidding. This is a one-pan meal and you'd best believe it, because it's tasty as all get-out and easier than the simplest of pies to boot.

The first step, of course, is to pour yourself a draaaaaank.

Oh, please. Don't give me that look. Did you think this was some kind of fancy blog? Well, you were wrong. Around here we may not be 70/30 on store-bought v. fresh ingredients, but we certainly follow the Sandra Lee example example of cocktail hour. So! Saddle up or piss off.

Now that we've established that properly, let me elaborate on tonight's potent potable: considering I've half a box of Bota Shiraz (again, really? You want to judge? Have you had Bota Box? They're the best damn wine available for the price 'round these here parts or any other as far as I know, so don't knock it 'til you try it), but considering that I was listening to NPR's live coverage of the 2012 Republican Super Tuesday Primaries, I was going to need something a little stronger. Double blood orange Manhattan? Why, yes, thank you. In a vintage Couroc glass? Absolutely.

Now that you're all taken care of, with whatever delectable beverage you've selected, let's move on to the edible subject at hand: dinner. The ingredients are simple and versatile, though I've assembled some of my personal favorites and near-ubiquitous ones here, for the purpose of keeping the details straightforward.

Chicken. Free-range in this case, because an organic chicken in Alaska costs approximately $8,000 if you're not living on a farm in the Matanuska valley. I don't know about y'all, but I just don't have the sort of money for organic meat unless it comes as a gift from someone with a boat or a gun, so I do what I can with the options I have. Potatoes are a natural complement to roasting chicken - put one atop the potatoes and they get all covered and cooked in the glorious, deliciously flavorful fat of the chicken as it cooks away. How could you possibly argue that? As for a veggie, I chose the half an onion hanging about in the fridge and some zucchini in this case because it was on sale - however, broccoli or brussels sprouts are as equally delectable an option.

Excuse me?

You don't like brussels sprouts? In fact, you hate them?

Child, you shut your whore mouth when you're talking about brussels sprouts. Clearly, you haven't the faintest idea what's going on. Steamed sprouts, with no seasoning, could honestly be the Devil's own work. However, have you ever had them roasted? In olive oil, or butter, or chicken fat? With salt, pepper, and garlic? If you have, there is no possible way you'd bother to argue. So knock it off.

Alright. You've got the protein, atop the starch and the veggies. "Seasonings" are salt & pepper - flavors are enhanced, in this case, with garlic and smoked paprika. Whilst the oven has been heating up to 450 degrees F, smash some garlic cloves to throw in the cavity along with salt & pepper. The potatoes, already quartered, should be in your largest cast iron skillet - or a Pyrex dish, if you don't have cast iron (you don't have cast iron?! Christ) - with olive oil, salt/pepper/powdered garlic already on them. Truss up the legs of your chicken and put it breast-side down on the foundation. Salt & pepper the hell out of it, then flip it breast-side up and repeat. DO NOT SKIMP on your seasoning. The skin needs to be crispy, salty, and flavorful. I don't care if you're worried about your figure and you're going to toss the skin anyway - DO IT.

Let me clarify: I'm not interested in your sass.

Now that it's all good to go, put your skillet'o'goodness into the oven. After 45 minutes, pull that sucker out of the oven and arrange your chopped zucchini (what, you haven't already sliced and prepped them?) around the bird and then place it back in the oven for another 30 minutes. After the 30 minutes is up, take erry'thang out of the oven and let it rest, uncovered, for 10 minutes. The bird I had was 4.75 lbs, so I went just over 15/min a lb and then some with the rest period and everything was lovely. Meat cooks as it rests, remember - so err on the side of slightly underdone, with a rest period, instead of overdoing it to begin with.

Doesn't that look amazeballs?

Especially when you're about to eat it?

Aww, yeah.

In other news, as previously mentioned most of this was enjoyed to the dick-slippin' slow jams of the idiotic Republican wannabe-nominees of the 2012 Presidential election on this most excellent Super Tuesday, as hosted oh-so-fabulously by NPR. However, I finished it out by enjoying some old but fantastic tunes by Rites of Spring.

Check it out and rock out, bishes.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Starving Theatre Artist Option 2

I'm expanding my diet!

Roasted Chickpeas

2 cans cooked chickpeas
4 Tbsp olive oil
Salt and Pepper to taste

options- curry powder, basil, garlic, cayenne pepper, red pepper flakes, ginger... The possibilities are endless. You could have a different chickpea flavor every night (believe me, I've been there).

-Preheat oven to 425. Spread foil on a baking sheet.
-Dry chickpeas with a paper towel to dry them. Mix with olive oil and whatever spices you want in a bowl. Spread on the baking sheet.
-Bake for 30-40 mins until brown and crunchy. Keep an eye on them in the last 10 mins to avoid burning.

I'm currently listening to the original Broadway cast recording of ONCE, based on the movie that I haven't seen yet. It's on NPR first listen.
Already crying.
I'm going to try to see the show next week.

Come on, there's a musical theatre geek in all of us.