Friday, September 19, 2008

Touched by his noodly appendage

First: status updates.

1. I can see three square inches of window (and natural light) from my new cube. No more dark basement!

2. My computer came back with the new versions of all the office programs so I have hope that my camera will talk to it OK and I can start using photos on the blog again. The computer is also moving at a normal, not glacial, pace, so that's pretty good too.

3. I'm going to Philadelphia on Tuesday! And I get to meet up with a long-time blog crush, Adina Anonymous. She describes herself as "Korean, Jewish, dizzy, gassy, happy" and I think that sounds pretty awesome. She's also got some ideas of stuff for me to do/see while I'm there. If any of you in blogland have suggestions, they would be welcome!

4. I ALSO get to see my friend Kent and his lovely fiance, because we're all taking the train to meet up together in NYC on Friday evening. (They are in CT.) It's my first time in the big apple - what's the one thing I absolutely must do on a Friday in New York?

5. Yesterday afternoon Dan and I went to see Christo and Jeanne-Claude give a lecture about their work. It was both awesome and FREE which made it double awesome. They are working on another project called Over the River that will be in Colorado in a few years.

So, now that that's out of the way, it's time to write about food. This week, without quite meaning to, I ended up making a lot of things that involved noodles. They were all different, and all tasty, but noodly nonetheless.

Monday: White People Food

White People Food (tm Monkey) is what we call it when we mix together some things, like mac and cheese or potatoes and some sort of meaty substance and some vegetables and mix it all up in a bowl. Monday's version of White People Food looked like this:

1 box organic whole wheat mac & cheese
1/2 medium sized chicken boob (a whole breast is 2 halves, I only used one of the halves), chopped into small pieces
juice of 1 lime
chopped bell pepper (red, yellow), maybe 1/2 cup
chopped onion, 1/2 cup
1 head chopped broccoli (florets)
1 chopped carrot
2 gigantic white mushrooms, chopped (worked out to about 1/4 cup)
a handful of fresh thai basil and some cilantro, chopped into little bits

Boil water for noodles. Chop chicken into pieces, removing fat, and cook in small nonstick skillet with some seasonings and 1/2 the lime juice - I used lemon pepper. Sautee vegetables in a little canola oil; add seasonings (I used taco seasoning we just got at Penzeys and it was really good!), the other half of the lime juice and maybe some rice vinegar to give it a little liquid. Add cooked chicken and herbs to vegetables and season a bit more. When noodles are done, drain and follow directions on box. Sometimes we use greek yogurt instead of milk/butter but we didn't have any so I just used milk and a small amount of butter. Mix veggies/chicken in with mac and cheese. Maybe add a little salt/pepper or parmesan.

Result: YUMMY. White people food is nearly always tasty.

Tuesday: Whole wheat pasta with basil marinara, veggies, and ground turkey

2 servings whole wheat linguine or spaghetti, cooked and drained
1/2 lb ground turkey, browned and drained
handful of chopped fresh basil
1/2 chopped red bell pepper
15-20 asparagus spears, chopped into 1 1/2 inch pieces
5 large mushrooms, chopped
1/2 jar generic organic tasty marinara sauce
garlic powder, crushed red pepper flakes

Heat water to cook pasta. Brown turkey. Quickly sautee asparagus, red bell pepper, mushrooms, add basil, then add the pasta sauce and let simmer while pasta cooks. Add garlic and red pepper flakes to taste. Drain pasta, add sauce over noodles (I dish this out in individual bowls rather than doing it in the pan). Top with some grated parmesan and/or gruyere. I served this with a piece of ghetto garlic bread (piece of whole wheat toast, buttered and sprinkled with garlic powder). The garlic powder we got at Penzeys is really tasty and potent so it made for good garlic bread.

Result: Frabarous! This is one of our go-to meals that gets made about once a week or so (the veggies vary, but the result is always delish.)

Wednesday: Stir-fry green beans and shrimp over rice noodles

Wide rice noodles
Frozen raw shrimp, thawed, peeled, deveined
3/4 lb green beans
1-2 cloves garlic, minced or pressed (I was lazy and pressed it)
5 medium white mushrooms, sliced
1/2 yellow onion, diced
1 medium zucchini, chopped into 1-inch chunks and then quartered
handful of chopped cilantro and thai basil
seasoning of choice (I used Singapore Seasoning from Penzeys cuz it tastes good)

Defrost and peel shrimp. Boil water for noodles. Cook noodles.Prep veggies, then quickly stir fry with some canola oil, rice vinegar and maybe a little soy sauce. Season with fresh lime juice and thai basil. Drain noodles, add veggies on top. Eat with chopsticks.

Result: Pretty good, but I should have started the noodles sooner. They took too long to cook and so the stir fry was a little overdone.

Thursday: The Reign of Noodles is at an end! Cream of Broccoli and Potato Soup

2 heads broccoli, chopped (including stem)
1 small potato, diced (I used yukon gold)
1 kohlrabi, peeled and diced (optional, but we had one that needed using)
5 cups vegetable broth (we use this broth concentrate stuff that comes in a jar and mix it with water)
1 cup milk
1 tbsp butter
1 tbsp flour
seasonings of choice
1/4 cup extra sharp cheddar cheese, grated
small amounts of grated gruyere cheese

Boil broth and cook vegetables until tender, maybe 10 minutes. Reserve 1.5 cups of broth. Drain veggies, process with 3/4 of the broth in a blender or food processor until smooth, maybe 1 minute. Let sit while you make a roux with the butter, flour, and seasonings (melt butter in pan, add salt/pepper/whatever, add flour, stir together for 30 seconds or so), then add milk. Stir until the milk starts getting thick, then let it cook for 30 seconds or a minute more. It will get really thick and bubbly. Add veggie puree and the rest of the broth, stir. Add cheese and stir some more until it's heated through and the cheese is melted. I served this with cheese toast.

Result: Super good. I think you can basically use any vegetables and this would turn out fabulously.

Tonight, Dan's making me some homemade pizza.

And! The recipe for the fritters from last weekend:

3 small zucchini, grated
2 small yellow squash, grated
1 small potato, grated (leave all the skins on the veggies)
1 egg, beaten
1 tbsp flour
grated hard cheese of your choice (I used parm and gruyere because I freaking love that stuff)
seasonings (salt, pepper, whatever)
Oil for frying

Grate veggies (we have an attachment on our food processor that grates stuff in like 2 seconds and is AWESOME). Mix with egg, flour, cheese, seasonings. Let it sit. A whole lot of water will come out. Drain it as best you can. Meanwhile, heat a small amount of oil in a pan with high sides (we have a stainless steel pan we use for the occasional frying we do). I used enough to cover the bottom of the pan but no more. When the oil was hot, I scooped out a large forkful of veggie mixture and plopped it in the oil, then flattened it a bit with a metal spatula. I made 3 or 4 of these in the pan and then just let them fry. After a while, I realized I should probaly drain the plops before I cooked them, so I started doing that and they cooked much better. Flip the plops over when they look brownish on the bottom. Cook until they seem done and drain on paper towels.

I thought to serve these with our sour cream substitute (plain nonfat greek yogurt) and applesauce, but these were so flavorful they didn't need any accoutrements.

OK, I'm done talking about food now. *wipes brow*

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