Thursday, January 27, 2011

Recipe Fail

Sometimes I experiment with new ingredients and recipes, and it turns out delicious and beautiful.

My apple bread was right on.

Then I can't wait to take pictures and share it with my friends.

Other times, it fails.  Sometimes it fails just a little bit, like it comes out too bland, or a little burnt.  But sometimes it comes out so bad that I just have to toss the whole thing.

The good thing is that we can learn from our failures, both big and small.  And often, the next time I make something, it turns out just right.

The peppers tasted better when stuffed with quinoa instead of spelt-- lesson learned.

Here are some recent recipe fails (so hopefully, yummy dishes to come!):

Clockwise: Banana Nut Breakfast Muffins, Split Pea Soup, Curried Lentil Stew, Butternut Squash Ravioli, Spaghetti with Broccoli and Cauliflower.

The muffins (this week's experiment) were slightly like cardboard.  The soup and the stew weren't too bad, just a little bland.  But the ravioli was so terrible, I had to just throw it all out.  :(

The moral of the story is fails happen-- but keep cookin'!  It's a learning curve: experimenting helps you figure out what works and what doesn't.  With some tweaking, most of these dishes will be share-able soon.  (But don't hold your breath on the ravioli.)

Monday, January 24, 2011

A Breakfast for Champions

While creating my new Recipes tab, I realized I was severely lacking in the breakfast department.  It's not that I don't eat breakfast, it's just that I don't usually leave myself time for creativity.  Creative breakfasts occur only on the weekends or for dinner.

My last breakfast for dinner, with Hay Maple Syrup. Yum!

I have realized that if I really fill up on breakfast, I tend to require far less food throughout the day, so I'm making an effort lately to give myself a better food foundation, but again, convenience usually trumps creativity, and I have another english muffin covered in peanut butter :(

Then last week my cousin Angela gave me a bag of steel cut oats to try.  Steel cut oats are very similar to regular oatmeal, but whole and less processed.  This means they take your body longer to digest, therefore, keeping you fuller longer (and you know, less processing generally means healthier anyway).

Uncooked steel cut oats.  They're round, not flakes (flakes are the result of processing).

I go through oatmeal phases, but I really enjoyed the steel cut oats!  Because they are whole grain, they have a little more texture than regular oatmeal (a little chewier, less mushy) and slightly heartier in flavor.  I just mixed in a little milk and honey to mine, and it was really tasty, and kept me full for a long time.

My steel cut oats with milk, honey, and a few date pieces.

And now the clincher:  I kept my leftovers in the fridge, reheated them in the microwave with honey a couple of days later, and they were just as yummy as the first day I made them.  Convenience!!!!  Now I have no excuse.

You can get steel cut oats at the co-op.  They take about a half an hour to cook... keep an eye on them and extra water handy.  The ratio of oats to water seems to be somewhere around 1:4, but mine kept sticking to the pot (I think I had the heat too high).  Here's a recipe from Alton Brown that you may find useful: Steel Cut Oatmeal.

I'm so over English muffins.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Early Spring

See that picture up there?  The one of Washington Park, looking lush and green?  It's hard to remember what green looks like :(

I'm home today because we're supposed to get 1/4" of ice, and although an extra day off is nice, I'm so over winter.  Sadly, I have months to go.    


However, my friend Andrea came up with a great way to bring a little green into January.  She began planting micro-greens, tiny versions of our favorite vegetables and herbs.

My own little garden of micro-greens!  Thanks, Andrea!

You eat them when they're "larger than sprouts but smaller than 'baby' greens,"* and they're very intense in flavor.  They taste just like their full-grown counter parts.  So far I tried one snip off of the tallest plant and it was really spicy!  It feels good to have something green and fresh when most of what I've been eating is heavy and roasted.

According to Andrea, the shoots only take a week or two to sprout, and are great atop a salad or sandwich, to add a little zest. She was generous enough to give me a container of her Spicy Italian Mix, and they're delicious!  In case you're interested, she ordered her mix of seeds from

It feels like spring has come early to my apartment.  The eager sprouts follow the sunshine through the window, and remind us to hold on... spring is coming.

*"How does your indoor 'micro' garden grow?" USA Weekend insert, Jan. 7-9, 2011.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Happy New Year, Ya'll.

Happy New Year! I hope your 2011 is off to an amazing start.

 Mine is.

City Mouse and I skipped down to The Big Easy to ring in the New Year, and per usual, feasted our way through the local culture, both figuratively and literally.

We're good at that.  Maybe too good.  I think I've eaten about three vegetables this whole week (but at least two of them were local!).  My pants are snug, and I'm pretty sure Flat Stanley is now 3D.   But I heard some of the best music in my life, so it was totally worth it.

Check out some of the local treats we discovered down in N'awlins...

We started right off with muffaletta and some spicy jambalaya on Bourbon St.   This sausage only foreshadows what is to come...

Satsumas are a nectarine-type orange grown in the southern part of our country, though Louisiana apparently likes to take all the credit. I would too, they're delish.

Breakfast #1: sausage and cheese grits, or as our bed 'n breakfast owner called them: Louisi-Bama grits!

Everyone drinks their coffee au lait, so they don't ask you if you want room, they just fill your cup 2/3 of the way... anyway, Louisiana wins The Best Coffee award, hands down.

Shopping vintage on Magazine Street.

Recommended by Billy, this was one of my favorite meals of the trip... we ate lamb ribs, rabbit and sausage jambalaya, and cajun fried chicken. I've never eaten so many animals in one sitting.  Sorry there's no more pictures, we were too busy licking our fingers.

The best croissant of Flat Stanley's life... chocolate and almond filled from Croissant d'Or in the French Quarter.

 Lunch at cute little Satsuma Cafe in Bywater: herbed cream cheese on a whole wheat bagel...

....arugula and beet salad....

....compost-able straws...

...washed down with satsuma lime-ade, of course.

Cafe DuMonde's cafe au lait and beignet (ben-yay).  You can't go to NOLA without stopping here.

Yum, powdered sugar.

While you're down there, try the local beer.  Or two.

Just stay off the piano.

Anyway, I hope 2011 is filled with more adventures, food and otherwise.

Happy New Year.