Sunday, April 28, 2013

When Life Gives Abby Potatoes

One of my favorite soups, because it's the one I make the most - because it's the only soup I make - is potato soup. A few days ago (when my Mom was here in NOLA with me yay) I bought three potatoes for 59 cents a pound because they'd started sprouting. I also bought an onion because even though I hate onions by themselves, I recognize that they are essential for certain recipes.

The recipe called for half an onion, sauteed in butter until translucent. If I could photograph the smell of onions sauteing in butter, I would. It's an amazing smell. 

I have made one potato soup from that was more like liquidy mashed potatoes, but this was Old-Fashioned Potato Soup by Cyd Lmbros. I knew it was time to make a potato soup because the potatoes needed to be eaten and my favorite way to eat potatoes is in soups (no microwave required). So I diced the three of them with one carrot and put them in a pot to boil with 2 1/2 cups water (because the 1 1/2 cups the recipe calls for just didn't seem like enough; note: it is) and a tablespoon of Vegetarian No Chicken Base Better than Bouillon paste. 

After they'd boiled and I'd made the butter, onions and flour paste, I drained out 1/2-3/4 cup of water and bouillon because it seemed like too much water (note: it was). I added some black pepper (perhaps a leeeetle too much) and 1/8 teaspoon of thyme, omitting the parsley because I didn't have any. 

Ta da! Delicious! If you try the recipe, let me know what you think. I think it's almost like a potato chowder. I did also use almond milk so that added a very subtle nuttiness. 

Happy munching! 

The Question of the Day: If you heat up Cajun roasted potatoes in a frying pan, are they called re-fried roasted potatoes?

Saturday, April 27, 2013

A Damn Good Eating Day

So my poor knitting blog is lonely - I haven't been posting on there. I've been doing a lot more eating than knitting, for woman can't survive on knitting alone. Although if I tried I'd probably lose some serious weight...

Anywhoo, today was, like I said, a damn good eating day.

For breakfast I made a smoothie for the first time since I'd been living in Philly. Because I was travelling so much, I haven't had a smoothie for breakfast since April 16, and I had been having one just about every day since May of last year. I blended a banana, plain organic yogurt, almond milk, and red lettuce together. It was DELICIOUS.

Today I bought raspberries, blackberries and blueberries and I'm going to find my flax seed so tomorrow's smoothie will be even BETTER. I also had Folger's coffee out of a Barack Obama birth certificate mug, which is epic.

For lunch in between bike rides I had a Vegemite and butter sandwich on naan, which was also delicious. This morning I biked to Treme for a showing that didn't happen - when I got to the shotgun house the outer door was locked but the inner door was slightly ajar which creeped me out and there were tons of people around that were dressed like real estate agents because there's a funeral home across the street with an incoming funeral. So perhaps it wasn't meant to be. After I biked home, I ate lunch and then biked to Uptown to go shopping at a local thrift store where I bought two skorts, a pair of jeggings and a Saints jersey. (I love teaching my Spell Check new words: Treme, skorts and jeggings lol)

When I came back, Natalie wanted to go walking so I went with her. We walked through Audubon Park and behind the zoo, about two miles I think, and on the way home she decided to have Chinese at Green Tea. I was going to eat leftovers from yesterday but instead jumped at the chance to have General Tso's. She got sesame bean curd which looked so pretty I had to take a picture of it. My General Tso's with shrimp fried rice is the first picture; her sesame bean curd with vegetable lo mein and a veggie egg roll is the second. 

I have half of mine for tomorrow, which I'll heat in a pot because I don't have a microwave... still don't like that. I want a microwave. And a porch. These are things I'm adding to my "must-have" list. I'm sorry that I like microwaves but I do. I don't ever eat microwavable meals but I LOVE leftovers and just don't have the patience for them to heat in the oven for a dang half hour.

Always happy munching, especially in New Orleans!

Friday, April 26, 2013

My First New Orleans Cooking! And Some More Goodies

First and foremost, I saw these beautiful flowers on Prytania Street while walking to The Creole Creamery for ice cream tonight with my roommates. 

I am sitting here on my air mattress with my feet up and in Ped Egg toe "relaxers" because they have been washed and massaged with peppermint lotion and deserve to be pampered. My feet did a job today, biking me almost six miles around the city and walking me at least 40 minutes' round trip to get ice cream this evening. (I had the Mango Unchained! and Cafe au Lait, by the way - both amazing.) Anyone able to tell me what these flowers are? 

I spent some time this afternoon sitting on my front lawn and knitting (so now I'm combining my two blogs: I was working on the shawl mentioned in my knitting blog here) when I noticed a group of kids across the street. They slipped between the fence on a vacant lot and started shouting "I found berries! I've got this many" and "I've got THIS many!" I couldn't figure out what they were talking about. They left with their hands full of something and came back one row's worth of stitching time later with a plastic bin. 

At this point I realized they'd found blackberries, growing on the largest blackberry bush - a tree, really - that I'd ever seen. After they left I walked across the street and picked a couple. I asked the gentleman in the house nearby if they were edible, and he said, "Yeah, once you wash 'em! Problem is, you'll never get enough!" I picked seven mostly black ones and took them into the kitchen. I ran water over them halfheartedly because I'm far less worried about wild blackberries growing in my neighborhood than I am about conventional blackberries sprayed with God knows what. They were so, so good; like sunshine trapped in a shadow. My neighbor's right; I probably will never get enough for them to be worthwhile, but boy is it nice to say: "I fancy a blackberry - lemme go next door and pick a few." 

For the past few days I've been eating out a lot and bringing home leftovers because that's what I always do. I love leftovers and microwave them quite often. But, my current residence does not have a microwave, never has, and probably never will. My two roommates get along just fine cooking single meals and eating mostly cold food, like cereal and cooked sausages and salads. This is all well and good and part of my culinary adventures will be adjusting to not having a microwave. But I have a real hard time waiting for food to heat in the oven; I was never a patient person and the only thing that's helped is my knitting. I'm still not a patient person but I'm trying. 

Anyways, I had a lovely salad for lunch today and for dinner decided I'd rather cook some of what I'd bought instead of wait to heat up my half of a pancake and fried potatoes from a few days ago. So I cooked couscous and burned it, salvaging enough for two helpings. Then I sauteed onions in olive oil and Vegemite (for the salt and for the deliciousness; if you've never tried it you should, no matter what you've heard about it), and added chopped carrots and yellow pepper. I spooned some of the couscous into a bowl with some of the veggies and added turmeric and oregano. It tasted good but needed something so I ate it with a block of the mildest sharp cheddar cheese that I've ever tasted. The two together were really yummy. 

May I just say I've found a new favorite website? I'm tempted to try one of these each morning:
Breakfast Vegemite recipes Some of the more interesting ones are Toad in the Hole (like Eggy in a Basket), Vegemite and Avocado on Toast, and the mind-boggling Vegemite Breakfast Tarts. Ohhhhkay then!

Thank goodness it's 10:22 p.m. (Central time!) and I'm going to bed soon, otherwise I'd be hungry!

We all need food to survive so we might as well enjoy it. Happy munching!

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

No Longer a Crawfish Virgin!

I'm going to deviate a little bit here. I realized that it was probably not the best timing to start a cooking blog when I was in transit. Since the last few days before moving out of Philadelphia, I have been eating some pretty amazing food. Here's a mental list of the places I've eaten:

Earth Bread and Brewery, Philadelphia PA: flatbreads
Keswick Tavern or KT 19038, Keswick PA: a bleu burger with spicy Creole sauce
Manayunk Brewery, Philadelphia PA: an eight-brew sampler, pumpkin ravioli and Philly Cheesesteak pizza, with a chocolate chip cookie in a skillet for dessert
Portofino's (Greek and) Italian Restaurant, East Ridge near Chattanooga TN: a gyro and raspberry lemon cheesecake
Cafe Du Monde, naturally, Vieux Carre, New Orleans LA: beignets and coffee

Fatoush mediterranean restaurant, New Orleans LA: tuna burger with roasted potatoes

Fisherman's Cove and Harbor Seafood Restaurant, Kenner LA: FROG LEGS (If you're wondering, they're bony and the meat is like fish, so it's like having fish on chicken wing bones - it's tasty stuff once you get past the work of taking off the meat. The restaurant had amazing tartar sauce that really added a nice flavor to the meat.)

I have had so much fun eating crazy things lately. I'm trying to get a little outside of my comfort zone. Tonight, I lost my crayfish (although crawfish is how I've always seen it - SpellCheck says it's crayfish) virginity at Joe's House of Blues on Seventh and Dryades, right on the corner of the street where I'm living. Earlier this afternoon after I survived a tornado warning and six inches of water underneath my rental car (yep! welcome to New Orleans!)

I wandered down the street and caught an amazing scent. It turned out to be a HUGE metal pot out front of this little bar. I got talking to a woman inside about the weather on the TV and met the owner. He said that they'd be having a seafood boil, like they do every Wednesday, later in the afternoon. I told them I'd come back and boy am I glad I did.

I met my potential roommate in the city and looked at some places before I started to get hungry. She decided to go get food wandering the French Quarter, a mere blocks from her hotel, and I decided I'd wander back to my local bar. For $3.25, the cost of a Corona with lime, I got a Styrofoam container with:

- about a dozen boiled crawfish
- a half a boiled potato
- one boiled chicken wing
- a piece of boiled corn on the cob

It was GOOD. Last night I watched a family of four eat about, I'd guess, four pounds of boiled crawfish. I watched the son, the closest to where I was sitting, pulling on the tails and sucking on the heads but had no real idea how to do it myself. So when I got my container and opened it up, I mentioned to the guy sitting at the bar next to me that I'd never eaten them before. He asked me if I wanted a tutorial. No, he was not young and cute, but he's from Connecticut originally so it was nice to chat with him. He showed me how to crack the shell and pull on the tails to get out the most meat and after a couple I'd pretty much gotten it down. The meat was so yummy but spicy! My lips were burning. Thank goodness for the beer, which significantly helped with the heat. (Also - there's a sweet cat on my bed right now and it makes me happy; his name is Billy)

The food was so yummy and the Corona went so well with it that I ate it pretty quickly. I feel quite a little buzz from the beer and am so happy to have found cheap, delicious, LOCAL food. Much better than the French Quarter. I think I'm getting the hang of this New Orleans thing already.

Munching through life,

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Because I Don't Ever Want to Forget This...

When I spent time with my German friend in Philly, we cooked a couple times together, just with whatever he had in his fridge and pantry. The favorite for me was zucchini covered in melted brie - I mean really, who wouldn't like that? So I wanted to make a blog post about it so I remember the recipe. Ha - recipe. The inspiration! (Lies - my favorite was his romaine salad with homemade oil and vinegar dressing, which I could never duplicate... or his mother's tomato sauce with sunflower seeds... ^ ^ )


Zucchini, the longer and thinner the better
Slices of brie, however much you like (the more the better!)

Cut the zucchini into 4-6" wedges. Melt the butter in a frying pan. Arrange the zucchini pieces flat in the frying pan. Flip when necessary until the zucchini are all soft and slightly browned. Place slices of brie over the zucchini and cover. Leave the heat on until the brie is melted and serve hot.

We ate it with slices of leftover Easter ham, salad and boiled potatoes.

Apologies that I don't have pictures!

Happy cooking!

Saturday, April 13, 2013

A New Party Trick!

Perhaps you've seen Napoleon Dynamite, where Napoleon's brother Kip and Uncle Rico sell cheap Tupperware to unsuspecting Idahoians? There's a scene where Uncle Rico dares a potential customer's husband to tear the bowl in half with his bare hands. He of course can't do it, and this is supposed to prove that the Tupperware is durable, when in fact a car backing over it pops it like a soap bubble.

There are other things I always thought were pretty durable because of their shape and because of elementary physics. I never would have thought that apples were "tearable", but it turns out that they are. 

The other night my German friend skipped the knife and just ripped an apple in half; a regular, organic, not rotten apple. So I tried it too. 

The song in the background is Alle Gegen Alle by Ohrbooten, my favorite Deutsch band. =) 

Apple ripping: give it a try sometime and tell me how it goes! 

When Life Gives you Veggies and Eggs...

Although my mother never cooked frittata for me, I decided today that when I have children this will be one of my staple dinners. It's so easy and you can adapt it for whatever you have in the fridge. The recipe I use is adapted from the Crustless Spinach Quiche on I've made it multiple times and it always makes me happy. Although the dish is called a crustless quiche, a crustless quiche is also called a frittata.

But first:

My soon to be ex roommate (sad face!) Janine gave us all a belated April Fool's Day prank this morning by floating eyeballs in our coffee cups. I love how it looks cross-eyed, even though there's only one eye... Now aren't you so hungry? 

So my favorite frittata recipe browns beautifully and tastes really good. The ingredients are simple: 

eggs (5 for a pie pan and 10 for a brownie pan) 
onion (even though I hate onion, I always use it because it completes the taste of most baked dishes) 
veggies (whatever you have in the fridge - I like to use celery, carrots, broccoli, and spinach but there are many that you can use)
cheese (if you like - it tastes lovely with or without; I've mostly used cheddar but I think Muenster or feta would be awesome) 
salt and pepper to taste

All you have to do is soften the veggies, onions first, in a frying pan with oil (vegetable or olive), then beat the eggs and mix everything together. 

Bake in a 350 degree oven for 30 minutes and let cool for 10 minutes before serving. I've always made these for potlucks, so I make them the day before and put them in the fridge overnight. Then I put them in the oven for 15-20 minutes before serving. 

May I just say that I like the way this blog is formatted? It seems to be very easy, definitely way easier than trying to format anything in Microsoft Word. Ugh. 

If you feel inspired to make this frittata, please comment and let me know how it goes! Thanks for reading! 

Monday, April 1, 2013

Finally, A Cooking Blog!

When I was a child, my mother rarely cooked because there were only two of us in the house. Cooking is easy when it's for one person (a big pot eaten over a few days) or for a group (a big pot eaten in one meal). But now that I'm an adult she bemoans not having cooked for me, leaving me without any memories of home-cooked family meals. Au contraire, ma mare - I remember every meal you ever made!

Living on my own in Philadelphia for the past year, I have delighted in cooking my own meals. I finally have a kitchen that I enjoy cooking in, with lots of counter and cabinet space, a gas stove which is so superior to electric coil stove-tops  and a food coop that sells organic and locally grown produce. Unfortunately this blog would have been better timed at the beginning of my stay in Philadelphia, but alas, I chose to wait until now to start it.

My next destination is New Orleans, where I will hopefully learn to correctly make jambalaya, how to cook beans without burning them, and how to eat all that delicious food without blowing up like a balloon.

I made jambalaya for a Mardi Gras potluck in the Crock Pot and added a bay leaf at the last minute. Although it was okay mixed with dirty rice, the jambalaya tasted like a bay leaf stuck under my tongue. New Orleans natives will probably cuss me out for nixing the sausage, but I just don't like sausage. I guess I'd better learn to.

Happy cooking!