Tag Archives: dinner

Always Winning

21 Sep

I keep waking up thinking about Thanksgiving. It’s happened several times in the last few weeks. Imagine being deep in a dream where you’re following your father, an international spy, up a mountain/the Great Wall of China–he’s just about to give up the answer to the HUGE LIFE-ALTERING QUESTION you’ve had the whole time (even though you can’t quite seem to articulate what that question is) when BAM. You shoot awake wondering if your grandma will be okay with you making the pies this year. I have also awoken to sudden anxiety over the gravy and what will be used to thicken it, as well as the rolls and how instead of those sweet Hawaiian guys we will be having my own salt & pepper/parmesan drop biscuits. And then I start fantasizing and I can’t meditate because all I can think about is food. It’s honestly a wonder that I don’t weigh 5 times as much as I do, although I suppose thinking about food constantly is not the same as eating food constantly. Anyways, the point is that food is a big part of my life. I’m a musician by trade, so sometimes I feel like I’m having a love affair with food blogging. If it’s wrong then by golly I don’t want to be right!

My mom has Tivo. It’s pretty cool because there is nothing good on TV during the day and when I’m totally laid out sick all I want to do is eat chicken noodle soup and watch a show about chicken noodle soup. And when I visit my mom’s, there is usually a lot of food around and a lot of food TV recorded. I skipped the soup this time and just opted for cuddling the dog and watching Top Chef Masters. Interacting with the television is such a rarity for me that I forgot I can fast forward through the commercials and I end up passing out in a pile of tissues instead. This is not the point. The point of this story is that Top Chef Masters is not the most annoying or brain-melting thing you could watch on TV, and in fact featured one of my good friends, Takashi Yagihashi, for more than half the season! Takashi is an amazing chef who I have had the privilege of knowing for quite some time (I used to babysit his kids when they were tiny and now they’re all in high school or college…whaaaaaa???? how am I that old??). He has been living in Chicago for a while, though, and currently oversees a few of his own totally awesome restaurants there (Takashi and Slurping Turtle).

Anyways, I only watched this show because I enjoyed feeling biased whenever they would have competitions and would throw dirty tissues at the screen if Takashi didn’t win, which wasn’t actually that often. He was dubbed the Quickfire King after all. I also watched this show because it’s pretty impressive to watch people cook up these gourmet dishes with very few ingredients and very little time. However, it’s still a reality show, which means it’s still totally stupid most of the time. Especially when Takashi got voted off (SPOILER OOPS). It was extra stupid then. But Takashi was a great sport, and I think his participation in the show directed some much deserved attention to his food and talents. Yay! And following in such a fashion, today’s recipe is one of his: pork fried rice. To me, this is comfort food.




TAKASHI’S FRIED RICE

Note before you make this that some of the ingredients require pre-cooking:

-the barbecued pork is up to you. Char Siu is one of my FAVORITE foods and my (Chinese) uncle Bien makes it the best, but keeps changing/not divulging his recipe (but I know he uses ketchup now!). So for the time being, check out this recipe. You don’t have to skewer and grill tiny pieces, you can marinade the whole tenderloins and cook them in the oven instead.

-cold cooked rice: cook your rice ahead of time and spread it on a sheet tray to cool. You can put it in the fridge for about a half hour to speed things up.

3 Tbsp Tamari

5 tsp rice vinegar

1 Tbsp sesame oil

1/4 tsp sugar

1/4 cup solid vegetable shortening

3/4 lb Chinese barbecued pork (cooked), half cut into 1/2-inch dice and half sliced 1/3 in thick (or tofu or tempeh if you want it veggie!)

1/2 cup frozen peas, thawed

2 large shiitake mushrooms, stems discarded and caps thinly sliced

1 carrot, cut into 1/3-in dice

1 head baby bok choy, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced crosswise

4 large eggs, lightly beaten

6 cups cold cooked Japanese short-grain rice

2 scallions, thinly sliced

pinch of freshly ground pepper & Kosher salt

In a small bowl, stir the soy sauce with the rice vinegar, sesame oil, and sugar.

Heat a very large skillet. Add the shortening and let melt. Add the diced pork and stir-fry over high heat for 1 minute. Add the peas, shiitakes, carrot and bok choy and stir-fry until tender. Add the eggs and scramble just until set.

Stir in the cooked rice, scallions, Tamari mixture and pepper and stir-fry until the rice is hot.

Remove from heat and season with salt. Spoon the fried rice into bowls, top with the sliced pork and serve.

Enjoy!

Advertisements

Bippity Boppity Bi Bim Bop

28 Aug

If you are gluten-free or have any common sense whatsoever, you know that quinoa is AWESOME (unless you can’t eat it in which case I’m sure you are still intelligent, just at a slight disadvantage in quinoa-eating competitions and similar matters). I squeem, you squeem, we all squeem for (s)quinoa. It’s a pure protein, it’s got a delicious flavor, it blends well but stays confident as a flour, it looks pretty…it’s an all-around winner. If Brandon and I are actually home for the week we probably eat it at least 2-3 times in the span of a few days. The good news is that I’m pretty sure it’s impossible to be addicted to quinoa. The bad news is that I’m addicted to quinoa. Anyways, it fits well with most anything it’s paired with, which in this case is my own version of bi bim bop. Bibimbap. B-bop. Betty boop…buhhh…whatever you want to call it. I feel slightly sacreligious calling this bi bim bop because it is not being delivered to me by my favorite Korean lady at Bell’s Diner in Ann Arbor and it’s not covered in “special Korean hot sauce” which looks exactly like ketchup but tastes like magic.

Anyways, I looked it up, and bibimbop basically suggests a dish mixed with rice. Now, if you experienced any part of my childhood, pretty much everything could hypothetically have been called bibimbop since it all got mixed together in the rice bowl. Reading that back, I feel like I am suggesting more Asian-ness than is really accurate. For goodness sake, my favorite preparation of rice included solely (lots of) butter and soy sauce. I still sometimes eat that when I need comfort food. My family called it “Katie rice” which actually is more like “it’s ok cause you’re only half Asian” rice. I infinitely digress! Bibimbop has been amazing everywhere I’ve eaten it and I have non-deliberately Americanized it for my own purposes (those purposes mostly being “I have these ingredients and I am going to mix them all together eventually but if I display them nicely and put a fried egg on top I can call them bibimbop”). Bibimbop seems like a pretty flexible concept to me. Some people put raw seafood on it, some prefer marinated beef; I like mine with a healthy dose of (Brinery) kimchi and a runny egg. Unfortunately on this day of bibimbop creation we were out of pickled foods (FOR SHAAAAME!) so while my stomach was greatly satisfied it still wept a little for its long lost best friend.

So here’s what I ended up with:

QUI-BIM-BOP (heh, sorry)

Serves 2

1 cup quinoa (in these photos, I was trying out a blend of grains including quinoas and wild rice)

2 large carrots, julienned and cooked to your preference (steamed or pan-fried…buttery carrots are always tasty)

1 cup cooked spinach (I steamed mine and then mixed it with Tamari)

2 small zucchini, cubed and cooked to your preference (pan-fried and seasoned with a little salt and pepper)

1/2 lb tempeh, cubed and cooked however you want (this would be a great use of maple/Tamari marinated tempeh–just cube some fresh tempeh and soak it in a 3:2ish mixture of Tamari to maple syrup with a clove or two of minced garlic for at least 30 min, then pan-fried)

1 cup sugar snap peas, steamed

2 large eggs, cooked to order

seasonings I would suggest you try out to taste, not necessarily all together: salt & pepper, olive oil, Tamari, Sriracha (or your favorite hot sauce), rice wine vinaigrette

As I mentioned, bibimbop is a mixed rice dish. So, simply split the cooked quinoa between two bowls and top with your ingredients. I assembled mine to look nice, then covered it all in Sriracha and made a delicious mess of it. This is a perfect dish to get creative with. Instead of marinated beef or seafood, Brandon and I (naturally) opted for tempeh (yet another thing I may be addicted to…it could be worse!). I had zucchini on hand, so they went in the bowl. Mung bean sprouts or julienned cucumber would be a super fresh, crunchy addition to this meal. Other things you can sub in might be short-grain brown rice for the quinoa or kale for the spinach. The opportunities are (gluten-free and) boundless.

Enjoy!

Detox.

9 Aug

Oh my. We have just returned from over a week in northern Michigan, frolicking in both the upper and lower peninsulas. We had a lovely time playing at Sleepy Bear Music Festival in Lake Ann, enjoyed a little beach time at Lake Michigan, then made our way (barely) to Marquette, up and up all the way to the Keweenaw Peninsula for Farm Block Fest. It was a time full of ups and downs, camping and bug bites, amazing music and slightly less amazing food, totally badass storms and lots of time in the car. But we’re home now, gearing up for the BIG CD RELEASE SHOW TOMORROW AT THE ARK. Brandon and I have been eating deliciousness for the last few days, trying to shove as many vegetables into our bodies as we can to make up for the lack thereof experienced on the road (it’s hard to keep veggies fresh in your cooler for that long).

As we walked into the grocery store, wondering what to make for dinner, it suddenly smacked us right in the face:

collard green wraps.

I can’t say enough about these thangs. Really, though, the only words we seem to be able to get out while eating them are “dude…so good…” and then we both just make “mind blown” faces. We’re nerds, it’s true. In fact, the first words out of my mouth during dinner tonight were simply “I love food” (sorry for not initially acknowledging the lovely candlelit table, B).

So here’s what’s up.

COLLARD GREEN WRAPS (SHABANG!)

(Serves 2)

2 large collard green leafs

1/2 green pepper, sliced thin

1/2 small cucumber, sliced thin

a few cherry tomatoes, sliced

1/2 avocado, sliced

2 heaping Tbsp baba ghanouj or hummus

1/2 cup quinoa, cooked

1/2 brick of tempeh, cut into strips and cooked

handful of pickled carrots

handful of bean sprouts

2 Tbsp crumbled feta

To prepare the collard greens, slice them in half along the stem, removing the stem and leaving yourself with two wrap bases. Spread avocado and baba ghanouj in the center of each wrap, and pile on the toppings! I listed what I used/had around, but whatever you’re interested in would surely be delicious. Vegan burritos? Falafel and tabbouleh? Collard greens are a great (and gluten-free) replacement for tortillas or pitas in a sandwich-type situation. We used tempeh and pickled carrots from The Brinery right here in Ann Arbor, our favorite fermentation location. Both mixed well with the slight bitterness of the collard greens and all the fresh vegetables offer a very satisfying (and healthy) crunch.

What will we wrap up next?

……….that joke, surely. That’s a wrap on that joke, folks. Oh gosh, I can’t stop. Someone make it stop…oh look food pictures!

Enjoy!

Tis The Season For…Herbs and Sinusitis

22 Jun

So it was 95+ degrees out yesterday and I spent most of the day in the walk-in clinic with sinus pain that come on faster and stronger than normal. OH BOY, FUN! I know, everyone totally wants to spend their summer days in bed, sweating (more than normal), thermometer constantly in mouth checking to see if that fever has yet to break, eating soup because it hurts too much to chew, and in my case, pounding a mixture of hot water, honey, and apple cider vinegar. But that is quite enough of a sob story for now. The good news is that I took the opportunity of staying in bed to watch a nerdy science show about aliens, and convinced Brandon to make vegan/gluten-free “mac n cheese.” Now, I totally owe you a recipe for this, but I was barely able to help cook, let alone play photographer and lighting wizard (not like I’m even a lighting wizard when not having fever dreams…on that note, last night’s fever dream included “jazzy” salmon…). I will tell you this much, though: it was delicious, easy to chew, and not nearly as hard to make as one might imagine. AND we put this beet in it!

Is that not the beet to end all beets? I am determined to find more like it so their beauty shall not go to waste in such a concotion as pasta!
Anyways, that’s enough raving about g-free noodles for now, especially when I can’t even show you what we ate. In case you’re wondering, yes, the sauce DID turn pink. Very pink. To top off his evening of winning in the kitchen, Brandon surprised me with some MINT GALACTICA coconut milk ice cream. He’s a real keeper. OH! And truffle oil. He brought home truffle oil. And put it in the “mac n cheese.” Ok, now I really have to stop because this must be torture for you vegan, gluten-free folks out there with a mean hankering for a rich, creamy pasta (I probably need to widen my market eh?).
In other news, we have managed not to kill all of our herb plants, and in fact have just harvested some thyme! We’re going to dry it to have on hand in the cooler months. Here it is!

 

 

Ain’t it purty?
Well, I think that’s all I’ve got for now. I did make some tiny, tasty lemon tarts with leftover curd from Brandon’s birthday cupcakes and I think they’re calling me. I’m planning to be beaming with health tomorrow as I perform my little heart out all day. Come catch me at The Ark or Woodruff’s and I promise I won’t breathe on you!
Yours,

 

 

What’s In The Fridge? (Cashew Curry Tofu Edition)

31 May

So I’ve been a little behind in the last few days. This is what running around can do to you. I’m floating between Beverly Hills and Ann Arbor, crossing my fingers and hoping to all that is good in this world that my little pug brother will be okay. We just found out that he has bacterial meningitis, which means the meninges surrounding his brain and spinal cord are swollen. We’ve started treatment but nothing is certain. It breaks my heart to think that he might be in pain, so I’ve been coping by cooking (and eating), as many do. I do know that the only constant in life is change, and that change brings about growth. So here’s to changing and learning throughout your entire life. And here’s an easy and tasty dinner you could make any night of the week!

Pan-Fried Tofu with Cashew Curry Sauce (and Sautéed Vegetables with Quinoa)

The Sauce:

NOTE: I was a bad blog lady and didn’t measure while I was cooking, so the following are approximations to the best of my guessing ability. Plus you can just alter it to taste!

1/3 (heaping) cup cashews

half an onion (chopped)

2 Tbsp olive oil

4 Tbsp flax milk (or any milk-like beverage)

1 Tbsp red curry paste

1/4 tsp cayenne

1 tsp chili powder

pinch of salt

Heat the olive oil in a sauce pan and add the cashews so they brown. Stir in the rest of the ingredients and simmer until the onions are translucent and the sauce smells awesome. Remove from heat. Once cooled a bit, transfer to a food processor and blend until smooth.

The Rest: 

NOTE–since this is a “what’s in the fridge?” dinner, use whatever vegetables you want!

1 package firm tofu

2 cloves fresh garlic, chopped finely

4 Tbsp tamari

2 Tbsp maple syrup

handful of green beans

half an onion (chopped)

1 portobello cap, chopped

pinch of salt and pepper

1 cup quinoa

Begin by pressing the water out of your tofu (here’s a pretty good explanation on how to do that from Veggie Belly). While you wait, prepare the marinade for the tofu.

Combine tamari, maple syrup, and garlic in a bowl. When the tofu has dried, slice it into 1/4 to 1/2″ pieces and cover with the marinade. Allow to sit while you prepare the quinoa and veggies.

just hangin out

To make the quinoa, bring 2 cups of water to a light boil. Add the quinoa, and reduce heat. Cover and allow to simmer for about 12 minutes. There should be no water left in the pot and you will have beautiful, fluffy quinoa!

quin-wow

Sauté vegetables of your choice in a little vegetable oil, beginning with the aromatics (in this case, onion). I used chopped portobello mushrooms, fresh green beans, and onion this time. I always put a little salt and pepper on my vegetables, but you could add whatever spices that tickle your fancy.

vegging out

Once your tofu has taken on some color, it’s time to throw it in a hot pan! I used my cast-iron skillet with medium-high heat.

Let the tofu brown on each side and remove it from the pan. You can drizzle the remaining marinade on the tofu before flipping it for extra taste and caramelization.

Fill bowls with quinoa, vegetables, and top with a few slices of tofu. Spoon your smooth, cashew curry sauce on top and there you have it!

This is one tasty mess of vegetarian, gluten-free delight.

Enjoy!

P.S. Brandon and I leave for Portland tomorrow, so get ready for some travel posts!

What’s In The Fridge? Dinner Edition

22 May

Seeing as we didn’t get our food co-op delivery last week and we’re leaving for the next few days tomorrow morning, we’ve been letting the fridge get a little low on supplies. This tends to birth “what’s in the fridge?” meals. Sometimes they’re impressive and sometimes they’re just simple and yummy. Sometimes if Brandon cooks you’re in for an experimental dish (see future post about peanut butter & avocado sandwiches…). Any way you slice it, food is food and this is what I made last night:

I promise I’ll start taking higher quality pictures soon. I think, though, that sometimes “make dinner immediately” goes hand in hand with “what’s in the fridge?” Especially when your boyfriend has just been in an ice bath for 20 minutes and is freezing and hungry (read: not the right time to play fancy photographer). So what’s the cure for self-induced shivering and lack of ingredients? Polenta!

I’ll tell you what I threw in, but the possibilities are endless.

Basic Polenta (serves 2):

1 cup dry polenta (I used Bob’s Red Mill)

3 cups water (up to 4 cups depending on the polenta)

pinch of salt (to taste)

1 1/2 tbps butter

Bring water and salt to a light boil and slowly add the polenta.

Reduce heat to low and allow the polenta to simmer, stirring often at first, and occasionally over the course of about 25 minutes, or until the mixture is thick and cooked through.

Stir in butter and a little more salt to taste.

Meanwhile, decide what you want to top your savory corn pudding with! What was in my fridge included:

a couple carrots, half an onion, some asparagus, part of a red pepper, half a block of flax tempeh (which i actually cooked first-separately-in butter and then threw in to the veggie mix later)…

I chopped up these guys and sautéed them in olive oil, adding some salt and pepper, turmeric and some cumin.

After everything finishes cooking, top polenta with whatever you choose and serve immediately. I drizzled a little more olive oil (I was taught well working at Mani) and grated parmesan cheese on top.

Quick and easy dinner: complete.

Other ideas for polenta toppings:
-sautéed garlicky spinach and mushrooms with shaved parmesan
-fresh tomato sauce with fresh herbs and grilled vegetables
-roasted butternut squash with sage
-grilled asparagus, roasted garlic and a poached egg

The possibilities are simply endless.

Enjoy!

%d bloggers like this: