Thursday, March 31, 2011

Fish 3 Easy Ways and a Compound Butter

I love fish, but I used to be too intimidated to cook it at home.  It always seemed like a special "eating out" food.  Once I realized how quickly and easily fish could be prepared I got over my fear.  My parents used to complain that I made the entire house stink because of my late night salmon dinners.  Here are some really simple ways I've been eating fish lately.

First I baked a tilapia fillet.  It was frozen, and I was still sick last week and need something easy and quick.  I took the frozen fillet out of the freezer, placed it on foil, topped it with a little olive oil, salt, pepper, red pepper flakes, and sliced lemon.  I folded the pouch and baked it at 350 F for about 20 minutes.  I served this over plain pasta with parmesan cheese.

Not very colorful, but carb-y and delicious

Next up: more Tilapia with Compound Butter.  I really don't know why I've never made compound butter before.  It is amazingly simple and so good.  I add capers, lemon juice, lemon zest, and pepper to softened butter.  Then I wrapped the butter in wax paper, formed in a log, and put back in the fridge to harden.  While the butter firmed up I dredged the fish in flour and cooked for three minutes per side in olive oil.  I then sliced the butter and placed on the fish to melt into a lovely sauce.  That's it!  

 The tilapia was served with sauteed red peppers and a baked potato.

Finally, scallops with the leftover compound butter.  I had frozen scallops, and I was trying to figure out how to cook them.  The package said I could boil them in the bag.  I had water on for pasta anyway, so I threw these in the water.  I ate these lovely little scallops with a pasta which I will share on the next post.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Sick day #3 Gelato makes it better

Still sick, but I am going to work tomorrow.  The antibiotics are starting to kick in, so I'm feeling a little better.  My throat was much worse through part of the day, so I ate some mint chocolate chip gelato. My husband can't get enough gelato lately, and we've been buying Talenti.  It's very good, creamy, delicious, and it helps a sore throat.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Sick day #2

I'm home sick again today, and I will be tomorrow as well.  My sweet tooth continues to rage on, and I'm eating cinnamon sugar toast like it's going out of existence.  My throat is much worse today, but I'm getting medicine so I know that will help.  In the meantime, here a link to a give away on vegan crunk.  Check it out.  I really like Bianca's site, and I can't wait for her cookbook.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Chicken Noodle Soup

I spent the day home sick sitting in my recliner, reading, and watching episodes on Buffy and Angel.  If I wasn't sick it would be the perfect day.  I know the old saying "feed a fever, starve a cold," and I have been running a low grade fever, but my appetite has been on the side of ridiculous today.  I have a massive sweet tooth that is normally non-existent, and I just keep eating.  The strange thing about all my eating today is that my throat is terribly sore, but it doesn't seem to hurt when I'm eating.  Today I've had leftover corned beef, cabbage, parsley buttered potatoes, fruit leather, a brownie, toast with cinnamon and sugar, crackers and cheese, and finally, chicken noodle soup. 

Luckily, I had meant to make Chicken Noodle Soup even before I got sick.  I had leftover chicken and broth from the chicken tacos on Saturday night.  This soup comes together very quickly and easily (even if you're sick).

I like a lot of vegetable in my soup, so I chopped and cooked 1/2 an onion, 4 celery stalks, and 6 carrots.   

 After all the veggies started to get tender I added the chicken broth and chopped chicken.  I let this all cook on medium heat for about 20 minutes, then I brought the entire pot to a boil and added the noodles.  I let it cook for 18 minutes more then added salt and parsley.  I had to add a lot of salt because I made my broth from scratch.  If you are using commercially prepared broth, you can probably cut back on the salt.
 Now my fridge is packed full of boxes of soup.  Hopefully, I can enjoy them soon when I'm not sick

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Chicken tacos and a question for my readers

Whole chickens were on sale last week, so I decided to buy two.  Whenever I have whole chickens, I want to make chicken tacos.  Below you can see the seasonings I used.  There is garlic, bay leaves, fennel seeds, red pepper flakes, oregano, kosher salt, and whole tri-color peppercorns.  I also added dried cumin, but I forgot to put it on the plate for the picture.  I put all of the spices and chicken into the crockpot and filled it about 1/2 way with water.  I turned it on low and forgot about the whole thing for about 8 hours.  When the chicken was done I let it cool and pulled it apart.  It was served with pepper and onions, cilantro, tomatoes, black olives, cheese, sour cream, and hot sauce.  You can see the table spread in the picture below.  Now I have leftover chicken and broth for chicken noodle soup.  

Now for the reader question, I know I have readers of this blog who never comment, but now I want some input.  Originally, I started out this blog as a journal style record of what I eat each day and included recipes and pictures. Right now I've just been posting recipes about twice a week with no food journal.  What do you want to see?  I think it's interesting to see what other people are eating, but I'm not sure if I'm alone in this.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Corned beef, cabbage, and parsley buttered red potatoes

I know, I know, St. Patrick's day is over, and even if I were posting this on St. Pat's, it's not every original.  It is a meal that I love, so I thought I would post this.  I've made Parsley Buttered Red Potatoes many times before, but I really think this is the best I've ever made.  The secret is steaming the potatoes and adding lots of butter.  It's so easy I don't know why I don't make this more.

I know the above picture isn't very pretty, but I think it's difficult to get a nice shot of a bowl of corned beer and cabbage.  Ugly food just tastes better sometimes.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Meatballs: A method, not a recipe

I learned how to make meatballs on my own one day.  I didn't look at a cookbook or delve into my inner memories and gather wisdom given to me by a grandma long ago, I just mixed some ingredients together.  It tasted really great, so I did it again and again.  Each time I make meatballs it's a little different.  I don't measure, I just eyeball ingredients and know when I have enough by feel.  I'm telling you this as a reason (excuse) for why I don't have a recipe for this.  Someday I will measure and write down what I do, but for now I'll give you a basic idea of how I make meatballs.

First, I make breadcrumbs; I don't see the point in buying pre-made breadcrumbs, but if you do, then use those.  These could be fresh breadcrumbs or dry.  I made fresh breadcrumbs today because I had part of a sourdough loaf in my breadbox that I was worried about finishing.  I cut off a hunk and put it in my food processor.  I've used wheat, white, rye, and sourdough bread; anything that's not sweet would be fine.  The breadcrumbs go into a small bowl.

Next, I put onion, herbs, and garlic into the processor.  These items get ground and olive oil is streamed in until the consistency is about that of a pesto.  Today I used half a red onion, the leaves from 5 rosemary sprigs, 6 sage leaves, a handful of flat leaf parsley, and 4 garlic cloves.  I add basil to this often, but I didn't have any today.

Then, I put two pounds of ground beef in a bowl and added salt and pepper.  After the salt and pepper was mixed into the beef, I incorporated the herb/oil mixture.  I really think the best way to mix everything together is with your hands, but if you feel uncomfortable about this you could use a spoon.  Then I added the breadcrumbs.  I add a little at a time and mix until the mixture will hold together in a ball.  It should be moist, but not wet.

After everything is mixed, I roll walnut sized meatballs.  Then put onto cookie sheets and bake at 350F for 20 minutes.  The meatballs can now be added to pasta sauce or cooled and placed in plastic bags for freezing.  If you freeze the meatballs they can be reheated right in a pasta sauce.

Monday, March 14, 2011

A Delay on the Vegan Kickstart

I reinforced something I already knew, poor planning leads to poor eating.  This poor planning led me to eating Skittles for breakfast this morning.  I didn't go grocery shopping this weekend to get the items needed for the kickstart.  I thought I was going shopping tonight, but after I get home from my second job I know I will be too tired.  I will resume the kickstart next Monday, and possibly make some creative meals out of what is on hand in the freezer and pantry.  Right now I'm having a bit of a love affair with my crockpot.  I threw in some cabbage, which I will have with lunch tomorrow.  I'm thinking about buying a second crockpot because it seems like the one I have is either in use or in the dishwasher.  I will be making corned beef, cabbage, and parsley buttered potatoes on Thursday for St. Patrick's day.  I may even make Irish soda bread if I get ambitious, so tune in to see what I come up with.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Day two of the vegan kickstart

Above you will see the Southern Beans and Greens doused in Louisiana Hot Sauce.  I was delicious.  I had this for supper tonight along with leftover Confetti Couscous salad.

Overall, today's menu was much better than yesterday.  I couldn't find any vegan veggie burgers in the frozen food section, so I got Bocca's Spicy Chik'n instead.  I usually buy their regular chicken patties for salad, and I was very happy with the spiciness of these.  I will be getting them again.  I was supposed to have leftover carrot and roasted red pepper soup, but I just couldn't do it.  I think I'm going to reduce the soup down, add some spices, and try is as a sauce.

I didn't have as much anxiety over food today, but I do have a strange feeling in my stomach.  I feel hungry, but full at the same time.  I think it's just all the grains, beans, and water mixing today.  I think this is something that would eventually regulate itself.  (If any vegans are reading this, I'd like to know if you had a similar experience when first going vegan.)

Tomorrow I'm off the kick start, but I have a few cooking plans for this weekend, so I will be posting.  I'll be back on the kick start Monday.  I think I need to cut the recipes in half because I'm staring at a fridge full of leftovers.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Day one: Kale and food anxiety

Today was day one of the 21 day vegan kickstart.  I'm doing this program Monday through Thursday.  

I woke up this morning a little concerned about breakfast.  I have been wrapping a piece of bread around a piece of cheese and eating it as I headed out the door.  This worked really well for me, but I would not be able to have my cheese this morning.  Apple cinnamon oatmeal was on the agenda for today, but I forgot to buy the apple juice concentrate, so I had cereal instead.  I was happy with the cereal, but hungry by lunch and fantasizing about skipping the program and eating school lunch.  That's how strange my mindset was.  I wanted school lunch!  

I was concerned about lunch, but I was pleasantly surprised.  The Couscous Confetti Salad was very filling and great.  Everyone looked at it with food envy, and I was asked to bring this to the next carry-in.  I will make this again.  I also had the Carrot and Red Pepper soup.  This wasn't terrible, but I was soups with something in them to chew.  I have it for lunch tomorrow, and I think I'll just sip it out of a coffee mug.  I may feel better about it that way.

When I came home, I was dying for a snack.  I had 2 pieces of sourdough toast with peanut butter and apricot jam.  They were delicious and held me over for supper.  Supper was Kwick Kale and Hoppin John Salad.  The salad was okay, a little lemony and bland.  I won't make this again with the suggested dressing.  The Kwick Kale was great.  I ate 2 bowls full (the entire recipe).  I've always loved cooked greens, but I've always slow-cooked them with some kind of pork.  It's nice to have a quick meat-free option.  

Overall, it's been a decent start.  I have had a lot of food anxiety, which really shows me the extent of my addiction to food.  I really am always thinking about food.  I even have dreams about food.  Tune in tomorrow to see if there is anymore anxiety.

Above is my supper, perched on my lap.  Notice the stylish ducky pajama pants.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

40 days: Fat Tuesday ends, the detox begins.

Something about roasting red peppers makes me feel really cool.  I get to play with fire, and I know it's something that my dad wouldn't approve of me doing.  I roasted these peppers tonight in preparation for lunch tomorrow.  In honor of the Lenten season (no, I'm no Catholic), I decided that on Monday - Thursday I would participate in the 21 day Vegan Kickstart program  I've been wanting to do this for awhile to see how it would make me feel, but I've always had the problem of weekend activities revolving around food that would mess this up.  I decided that if I do this program on the weekdays I would still be able to do what I needed to do on the weekends, post recipes and weeknight kitchen posts (I'm behind, I know), but I would still get the benefits of healthier eating during the week.  Tomorrow is day one, and I roasted pepper last night for the carrot and roasted red pepper soup.  I'll let  you know how it tastes tomorrow.

In the meantime, Happy Fat Tuesday!  Live it up tonight because tomorrow is a time for reflection and possibly hangovers.