Back in action

29 Aug

…with an iPad to boot! I’ve got moosewood fudge brownies, gypsy soup part deux, greens, and fresh produce to write about. More on the horizon as the weather allows me to retreat back into the kitchen.

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Nearly a month…

30 Jun

So it’s been a while, but I promise I’m still at it. The while was filled with 4:30am sunrises on Cadillac Mountain, climbing the Beehive, walking the Wonderland, and then home, yard work, planting, bonfires… In the midst of all this, Ryan’s handy card reader broke and I was pictureless. Alas! I’m back with a USB cable in hand. Before I left, I wrote of making a few things and tofu salad was one of them.Pasta with broccoli was another, and there was enough for a few days of lunches.While we were in Maine, we really splurged. We hiked somewhere around 40-50 miles, but the food still stuck to our guts and we’re still recovering. We started the trip off with Jordan’s amazing Maine blueberry pancakes with Maine syrup, sampled a few whoopie pies, and had the worst pizza we ever ate. TWICE! Never did I know how much a fan of the Georgio’s $5 fresh and ready I was until I had 2 pizzas in Bar Harbor that were nearly $20 and not very good. One was at a movie theater called Reel Pizza Cinerama (we saw Super 8), so I guess they have an excuse. Other things to note? We had some crazy good lobster rolls at the Thirsty Whale and Side Street, amazing lobster benedict and tofu scramble at Two Cats (with a cat sitting next to me), and the best anniversary dinner at Town Hill Bistro, possibly my favorite restaurant. Anywhere. No pictures of that amazingness, so you’ll just have to take my word for it.Oh yeah, that’s a pulled pork sandwich and it was out of this world, especially after climbing a couple mountains and going on a brewery tour at Atlantic Brewing Co. Did I mention that we haven’t stuck to the Vegetarianism? The fact of the matter is we’ve been eating significantly less meat and incorporating more veggies into our diets, and that’s kind of what I was going for. Whenever I say I’m not going to eat any meat, it’s all I want. That’s just how I am. So it doesn’t work.So anyway, I recently made Solyanka with Odessa Beets. Both were tasty.And time consuming. The Solyanka was essentially a mashed potato and cabbage casserole, while the beets were roasted, shredded and mixed with a marinade. I’ll be honest, I don’t think I’ve ever eaten a beet before in my life. It was good, but I’m not running out all the time to get beets or anything.I’ve also discovered these little buggers through our Blue Pike Farm CSA. Garlic scapes grow out of the tops of garlic, and make a mean pesto. I just cut some up, added some lemon juice, olive oil, walnuts and parmesean cheese, blended, and added to some pasta. Voila! Delicious dinner, terrible breath. Picking up our share today again, so I’ll have new things to work with along with some more scapes, perhaps.Another Moosewood recipe I’ve made since the return are these veggie kabobs. I used Cleveland Tofu and hot peppers instead of sweet. They were pretty good, but not out of this world. Next time I’ll use the soy sauce marinade that I used for the tofu salad and these will be awesome! It will also help not to run out of propane half way through grilling.There’s my good old Cleveland Tofu, and I’m caught up to the present. Next up is the Old Country Pie, then who knows. I’ve got the rest of the summer, some budding vegetable plants and a grill that’s ready to go. As of late, the easiest thing to do is just to throw some Tofurky or Field Roast on the grill and wait 10 minutes for dinner to be ready. So if you need to find me, I’ll be in the backyard or in the garden.

Lazy summer days

2 Jun

It’s been awhile, but I swear I haven’t slacked off that much. Or maybe I have. Summer came like a 95 degree whirlwind out of nowhere though, am I right? With the heat came garden work. Pulling up turf, cultivating, moving dirt, spreading dirt, planting, putting up a fence, building up a compost pile… and after 6 hours of sweaty work the last thing anyone wants to do is cook over a hot stove after chopping up pounds of vegetables. But the gardening is all for the sake of vegetables, right? So soon we will have some and be forced to cook them, but until then I’ll be lazy. I may have even eaten red meat for the first time in weeks via a delicious Parkview burger, but life is good. When you’re active you deserve nice things! Heck, I even spent a few of these weeks busy and worried about finding a job and ended up getting something freakishly, fantasticly perfect. I don’t start until July though, so back to MOOSEWOOD! Maybe I’ll just go through the whole dang book in the next month… or not.

Anyway, this week I made 2 things out of Moosewood that were pretty good. Actually, I have pictures of both but I think my card reader is broken. Hopefully Ryan can figure this thing out, or else my blog is going to be text-only from now on. Eek! There go my 2 readers.

The first thing I made was pasta with broccoli sauce and there was so. much. of. it. 1 pound of broccoli, a ton of onion and garlic, 2 cups of cherry tomatoes and some other things make for a lot of food. Definitely an easy thing to play with in terms of ingredients, and a good thing to make if you have an enormous head of broccoli you need to get rid of… or any vegetable really. I’m starting to find a theme here. I realized after making this that so many of these recipes are the same. Start with a heaping mound of onions and garlic, add veggies, add to something else like pasta, eat. I’m now a gourmet cook, is what I’m trying to say. Actually, not at all.

The next thing I made was a yummy asian flavored tofu salad to take over Jocelynn’s last night. Thank God for Cleveland Tofu, which is really delicious and absorbent, too! It sucked up all the delicious marinade (soy sauce, garlic, ginger). Thank God for Cleveland bean sprouts, too! Now we just need a Cleveland mushroom farm and we have the trifecta tofu salad. Everyone enjoyed, and the rest of the food was delicious, too… not to mention the weather was perfect and the company was even better! We had a great time.

Once again, this is my last post for a little bit, but I will be returning from Maine with a (culinary) adventure to post. Yes, I plan on sitting outside, pigging out on BBQ at Mainely Meat via The Atlantic Brewing Company (while drinking their Mount Desert Island Ginger beer), and of course I plan on eating some perfectly cooked fresh, local deliciousness from Town Hill Bistro (AKA one of the only restaurants I’ve been to outside of Cleveland that could compete with Cleveland restaurants… yeah, I’m that much of a food snob). Lobster? Notsomuch. I’m still confused as to whether or not I have a shellfish allergy and I’m too nervous to try and test it out again. I guess we’ll see what happens when we get there. I might have a mix of butter and lobster nastyness all over my hands depending on where this vacay takes us. Until then…

Gypsy Goodness

18 May

Woah. If you read my depressing post yesterday, you’ve got another thing coming today. I made some soup last night and it was delicious. Better yet, it was unplanned and with a little tweaking I had just the right ingredients to make Gypsy Soup. Hey, it calls for tweaking anyway! Perfect.  So I subbed potato for sweet potato and minced up the celery as finely as I could because Ryan doesn’t like either, and then I replaced the garbanzo beans and green pepper with Bob’s Vegi Soup Mix because I’ve had it sitting around forver. The end result was amazing! The spices were perfect, and along with a goat cheese/cucumber panini and spinach salad it blew me away, and cleared up my allergies momentarily!  Better yet, there were leftovers. Even better, they’ll get eaten today. Gypsy soup is awesome and was perfect for this weather relapse. The alphabet bits in Bob’s made me feel good, too. And tonight I’ll be munching on some Field Roast at the Happy Dog. It doesn’t get much better than that.

Calzones & discouragement

17 May

This weather is exhausting. Just when people finally decided to come out of the woodwork, they were forced back into their cocoons of hibernation by the cold and rain. I’ve felt sleepy everyday since it’s been all gloomy and gray and I’ve been craving… I don’t know what. Meatloaf? Pizza? I’m not sure, but nothing has been satisfying. It was good to watch my veggie sprouts thrive over the brief span of sun and heat, but now they’re starting to retreat. So in the midst of all this, I made some calzones thinking they would be good and hearty chilly food, but they were just mediocre. Afterwards, Ryan and I were reflecting on what we’ve liked out of Moosewood and couldn’t think of anything. I guess we need some re-encouragement from a good recipe. We need something to blow us away. I’m going to look around online and try to find one specific recipe to make and maybe we’ll be into it again. Looks pretty good, right? Well first of all, the dough never rose so it was strange. Blame it on me for following the recipe and not waiting for the yeast to do its work at the beginning, but I was trusting. I waited an hour and it was pretty much the same but I had to go on anyway because we were hungry and I had already made the pound of fresh spinach into filling. Before: After an hour: Pretty much the same. And I just had a feeling it wasn’t going to work, so I took pictures. I was right.
About the spinach: This recipe called for a whole pound of fresh spinach, which is fine, but it tells you to stem and mince it. This is a ridiculously large amount of spinach to stem and mince. I actually didn’t even see this instruction and accidently put it in whole and it cooks down so much that it doesn’t make a difference if you ask me. I usually don’t go for frozen stuff, but I don’t think frozen spinach is a sin. I think it would have been pretty useful here. Pretty okay… but we need more. We need something crazy good. I’m going to look around for suggestions, and until next time…

First flop: mushroom curry

12 May

This is kind of how things have been lately. Between grading papers and exams, writing papers and presenting, I haven’t felt like cooking much. But that’s all said and done. As of today it’s officially summer, and I celebrated last night by cooking some mushroom curry, and well… it sucked. Everything about it sucked. It sucked that it was super sweet yet oddly spicy and kind of smelled like vomit. It sucked that I had bought nearly 2 pounds of mushrooms, coconut, apples, spices, etc. to make it… and lastly, it sucked because after I spent an hour cooking it I looked in the pot and didn’t even want to eat it because it looked downright nasty. I waited until Ryan got home to try it and I ate two bites of it before resorting to a dinner of a nutella, peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Ryan ate more than I did, but in the end we ended up putting enough mushroom curry for an army down the garbage disposal. WHAT A WASTE!

But today is a new day of Moosewood and spinach and cheese calzones with vodka sauce are near on the horizon. Nearly 15 recipes down, it was due time for us to find something we didn’t like, so there it was. As for vegetarianism as a whole, it’s been going well if you don’t count those all you can eat seats at the Indians game the other day that had me hoarding hot dogs in my purse. I grabbed some tofurkey sausages and veggie burgers today just in case grilling happens this weekend, and I even got some boca crumbles for tacos. Yum. So no, not 24/7 Moosewood, but you just wait until we start picking up our Blue Pike CSA. Sometimes I need to have some produce forced upon me to get stuff done, like when you’re walking through the produce hut at the West Side Market. If you scream at me that I can get 3 bunches of bananas for $1, I’ll probably hand the money over. Hence why I walked out of there last week with a massive handful of kale and some rainbow chard and ate it on bread. So good…

A week of Moosewood

5 May

This past week has been crazy. Generally I haven’t felt like or had the time to cook. Obviously Sarge hasn’t wanted me to either. He’s been chilling out on my Moosewood Cookbook just rubbing it in my face. What have I been doing? Well, I’m finishing up my teaching gig at CSU, my last graduate course and beginning a job search, but with all of these things going on we’ve still been on track if you don’t count our hot dogs at the baseball game Saturday. Amidst all the chaos, I luckily have some quick go-to veggie meals in my repertoire like boca tacos, grilled cheese and pasta, plus we have some awesome options where we live in good old Cleveland. Nope, no Olive Garden out here, but I had some AMAZING veggie curry last week from Indian Delight, a good falafel sandwich and fattoush salad from Frank’s Falafel House on Saturday and a great veggie egg roll vermicelli bowl from #1 Pho this past Monday. Actually, tonight I’m popping into Johnny Mangos for some $1 bean tacos, but their veggie fried rice is definitely the best vegetarian dish in the city. If you’ve had it I’m sure you agree.  Doesn’t that look like a greasy mess? Well, since it’s been awhile, I have a lot of catching up to do going all the way back to last Friday! I chopped up some onions, let them caramelize for a whole hour, added some greens I had laying around in my fridge and made some really delicious caramelized onion pasta. Actually, it wasn’t that much oil for nearly a pound of pasta and we ate the rest for breakfast Sunday morning before our trip down to Youngstown. Carbs!  Luckily I had some penne laying around from the primavera I recently made so I just threw that in a pot and it was done. This would be a great emergency recipe because if all else fails you probably have some onions, pasta and cheese laying around. Monday I made his bowl of deliciousness that soon turned into samosas. I cooked some onions and garlic with some nice spices, mashed some potatoes, added some peas and I had my filling. I was a little weary about the pastry because flour, salt and buttermilk were the only ingredients, but shockingly it worked! Best of all, I didn’t drop anything on the floor! Yeah, so they don’t look like perfect samosas, but they tasted perfect. In fact, I’d have to say this is a new favorite. I even have a few left over that I am going to pop back in the oven before tonight or tomorrows mushroom curry. Oops, forgot about the dipping sauce. I had finished the samosas and realized that I forgot to buy cider vinegar. I made the sauce anyway with some red wine vinegar, garlic, salt and brown sugar. It was okay, but a little weird. This has happened to be about a million times. I get 90% through a recipe and then realize I don’t have an ingredient. Oh well… moving on to cheese! So that brings us to last night and rarebit! I’m embarrassed to look back over the recipe right now and see that it says 4-6 servings. We ate the whole rare-bit of it and I could have went for more. This delicious cheese sauce has nearly a whole bottle of beer in it, of which I used some hefeweizen (does that make it a spring rarebit?) and added in some homemade prepared horseradish, garlic, dry mustard and of course sharp cheddar cheese. Cooking disaster? It wasn’t much of a disaster, but in the midst of flying around in the kitchen I accidently started reading the Zippy Cheese Sauce recipe on the opposite page and heated 2 cups of milk up in the microwave. In the end the cats got a good treat! Forgot to mention that there was a cat fight in the kitchen during samosa baking, but anyway, I’m super excited for what’s yet to come. I’ve got some papers to grade and exams to go over, but I’ve also got some mushroom curry to make. Be patient with me this next week, and once final grades are in I’m going to make every recipe in this book if it makes me go crazy! Seems like Ryan already has.