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Salad ideas

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Cleveland Clinic’s overview of really cool, nutritious, and tasty salad assembly is mostly my kind of document. It suggests alternatives to traditional salad ingredients and explains their benefits. It also explains some of the things to watch out for in traditional ingredients, and it doesn’t say anything about losing weight.

 

I now have some ideas for interesting salad ingredients based on this list…

 

  • Kale mix
  • Peapods
  • Soybeans
  • Red onion
  • Beets
  • Avocado
  • Chicken
  • Hard-boiled eggs
  • Raw sweet potatoes
  • Olive oil and balsamic for dressing

 

 

I now want to make a salad with kale, peapods, soybeans, hard-boiled eggs, raw sweet potatoes, and balsamic and olive oil for dressing.

 

Notable ingredients to use in greater moderation than I have been include the following:

 

 

  • Cheese
  • Peas
  • Croutons
  • Raisins
  • Cashews

Recaito = “reh cah EE toe” not “reh KAY toe”

Recaito = “reh cah EE toe” not “reh KAY toe” published on No Comments on Recaito = “reh cah EE toe” not “reh KAY toe”

Recaito, the star of Tarah’s chili recipe, is apparently four syllables, not three. It’s also pronounced “reh cah EE toe,” not “reh KAY toe.” No wonder the worker in Shaw’s gave me a really weird look when I asked for “reh KAY toe.” I’m going to blame my mispronunciation on a) the fact that I’ve never heard this word spoken aloud, b) the fact that I don’t know any Spanish, and c) the proliferation of names like Caitlyn [“cah EET lin”? :p].

Tarah’s chicken chili revised

Tarah’s chicken chili revised published on No Comments on Tarah’s chicken chili revised

Tonight’s permutation of the recipe follows:

 

2 chicken breasts, cooked in recaito
2 1/2 med carrots, shredded
2 1/2 tbsp recaito
honey [1 tsp?]
16 oz salsa verde
1 envelope Herbox
1 cup water
29 oz cannellini, rinsed and drained
16 oz red kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1 white onion, chopped
2 tbsp cumin
1 tbsp + 1 tsp paprika
1 tbsp cilantro
1/2 head garlic, minced
salt
frozen peas
frozen corn

Thaw chicken breasts. Slash. Place in glass baking dish in two layers of tin foil. Moosh recaito into the slashes and over the top of the breasts — a total of 1 to 2 tbsp. Wrap tin foil around them so they are covered. Cook at 450 degrees for at least 25 minutes. Shred.

Put all the ingredients except frozen veggies together in slow cooker. Fill the rest of the space in slow cooker with peas and corn. Stir thoroughly, making sure recaito and spices distribute evenly through ingredients. Cook on low for at least 8 hours. Check at least once to stir and make sure there’s enough liquid.

Notes:

Cooking chicken in recaito is my attempt to make it more flavorful. Also recaito seems like garlic — you can pretty much never have enough. There’s a lot of recaito in this version…

Carrots added per my previous notes.

Amount of honey was not measured — just enough to cut any heartburn-producing acidity.

I’m not a particular connoisseur of beans, but I’ll see if the cannellini make a difference in the taste.

White onions are nice and crunchy and juicy — good cooking onions!

Double the cumin from last time because cumin is the shit!

Increased amount of paprika, just for the hell of it.

Whoops, forgot the chili powder. I don’t feel like it was doing anything important last time, though.

Plus cilantro because cilantro is the shit, although not the the extent of garlic and cumin.

Salt to tie things together and highlight the flavors. I tend to skip salt, assuming that there’s enough sodium in everything else, but a judiciously applied amount of salt can have significant and subtle effects on the cohesion of a dish. Also it just tastes good, even if it is not as much of the shit as garlic, cumin, recaito, cilantro, etc.

The frozen veggies bulk up the chili and make it a one-pot meal, very appealing for us lazy people.

I’ve discovered that I follow recipes best when I discover why ingredients are being used. For example, if I read my recipe above and saw honey and salt, I would immediately assume that the two would cancel each other out. Thus I wouldn’t see the point of either, and I’d skip both. Knowing that honey mollifies the acidity of the salsa, while salt highlights other flavors, gives me the reason I need to add these ingredients. Also once I know the reasons for ingredients, I can get to the fun part — substitutions and experiments. Obviously, though, I clearly do substitutions and experiments even if I don’t know why certain ingredients are included.

First version of Tarah’s chicken chili, as interpreted by Modern Wizard

First version of Tarah’s chicken chili, as interpreted by Modern Wizard published on No Comments on First version of Tarah’s chicken chili, as interpreted by Modern Wizard

Inspired by Tarah’s green chicken chili, I made my own version of the following:

2 chicken breasts, precooked and chopped
16 oz. frozen corn
14 oz. frozen peas
2 cloves elephant garlic, minced
1/3 head regular garlic, minced
1 packet Herbox
1 cup water
~16 oz. salsa verde [used Goya]
~30 oz. light red kidney beans, rinsed and drained
~15 oz. dark red kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1 medium onion, diced
2 tbsp. racaito [used Goya]
1 tbsp. cumin
1 tbsp. paprika
1 tbsp. chili powder

Prepare individual ingredients as directed in ingredients list. Put everything in slow cooker; stir thoroughly. Cook on high for a while, stirring sporadically.

Notes: As you can see by my adaptations from the original recipe, I told the peppers, both green and jalapeno, to fuck right off, as peppers give me indigestion. [Also I’m sure there are plenty of peppers in the salsa verde and racaito.] I also increased the amount of garlic and precooked the chicken. Tarah didn’t specify if the chicken was supposed to be cooked beforehand, but I just wanted to make sure. Frozen veggies make it more like a hearty stew!

Next time I make this [and there will be a next time, if only to improve on this attempt], I’m shredding a carrot or two in there. I may also add some honey if the chili proves particularly acidic.

Tarah’s chicken chili recipe

Tarah’s chicken chili recipe published on No Comments on Tarah’s chicken chili recipe

From Tarah. I’m a little disturbed by the presence of jalapeno, but I think the addition of salsa verde and racaito is a genius maneuver!

 

1 med onion (valencia), chopped
1/2 lg jalapeño, seeded chopped
1 med green bell pepper, seeded chopped
4 cloves garlic, pressed
1/2 t salt
1 t flour
1 c. Chicken broth
1 jar (16 oz) salsa verde
2.3 lb chicken breasts
2 T racaito
2 cans cannellini beans
1 can small white beans
(1 T) cumin, paprika, chili/cajun powder. 1 T each (I had cajun, not chili and no paprika on hand – didn’t want to use smoked paprika, which I did have)

Saute flour, onion, peppers, garlic, and salt until tender (aromatic roux). Put all ingredients in crock pot 5-7 hours on low. Chicken can be shredded an hour before complete.

Do NOT use more chicken… less will make it soupier, if you like that; 2-2.5 lbs makes it super thick and easily reheatable with a bit of water.

Modern Wizard’s chili yet again

Modern Wizard’s chili yet again published on No Comments on Modern Wizard’s chili yet again

2 pounds ground beef
~32 oz black beans, rinsed and drained
~32 oz diced tomatoes with chilies and garlic
~16 oz tomato sauce
~16 oz salsa with garlic
2 grated carrots
1 big white onion, chopped
7 cloves fresh regular garlic, minced
1 1/2 heads roasted regular garlic
1 clove fresh elephant garlic, minced
1 tbsp cayenne pepper
1 tbsp chili powder
miscellaneous amounts of salt
miscellaneous amounts of grated cheese

Mix garlic in with beef; brown; drain.

Put all ingredients in slow cooker. Cover. Cook for about 4 hours on high.

Put grated cheese on the chili if you want.

I think I’ve finally hit on a good chili recipe. One of the keys is to put the garlic in with the beef so that it distributes its flavor into the meat, but does not get lost in all the rest of the ingredients. Another key is to let the salsa do the rest of the heavy lifting flavor-wise. Cayenne pepper and chili powder are just there for the burn. Another key is to add as much garlic as you can possibly stand, not just with the beef, but with the diced tomatoes and the salsa. The roasted garlic seems to punch up the fresh garlic, giving it a foundation so that the taste of the latter is more apparent.

In future iterations, I will not be using elephant garlic; it’s too mild, but I was just trying to get rid of it. Looks like the final garlic count will be 5 to 7 regular cloves and 1 head regular roasted. Maybe fewer fresh cloves. Dare I say that was almost too much garlic?! GASP! Hopefully the chili will mellow over time.

Today’s chili recipe

Today’s chili recipe published on No Comments on Today’s chili recipe

Today’s version of slow cooker chili is an experiment in a) compensating for half the required amount of ground beef and b) cooking from memory. I was on the right track when I decided to put six grated carrots in for more bulk, but I don’t think the chili needs three cans of water; I think I was confusing it with the chicken tomato veggie stew. I hope I put in enough garlic… Find out tomorrow!!!

1 pound ground beef, browned in garlic and drained

2 cans [~30 oz] black beans, rinsed and drained

2 cans [~30 oz] diced tomatoes with basil, garlic, and oregano

3 diced tomato cans’ worth of water

5 cloves regular garlic, minced

2 cloves elephant garlic, minced

1 big yellow onion, chopped

6 carrots, grated

1 tbsp cayenne pepper

2 1/2 tbsp chili powder

miscellaneous amounts of salt and parsley flakes

Mince garlic. Put in with beef; brown beef; drain. Put beef and all other ingredients in slow cooker. Add preferred amount of salt and parsley. Cook on low for 10-12 hours.

EDIT: Way too much water makes this soupy and seems to dilute the flavor. There’s a lot of burn from the cayenne and chili powder, but the garlic seems to be lost in the confusion. I like the addition of the carrots, but I think this really needs another pound of beef to support the amount of fresh garlic I put in. Edible but really boring. 

 

Cranberry Orange Relish That Makes Your Kitchen Look Like Something Died in It

Cranberry Orange Relish That Makes Your Kitchen Look Like Something Died in It published on No Comments on Cranberry Orange Relish That Makes Your Kitchen Look Like Something Died in It

Adapted from a recipe passed down from my mom’s mom to her and then to me. So named because I used an antique meat grinder to mince the fruit, and red pulpy stuff, as well as gruesome-looking drips, got everywhere. This is lots of fun to make, at least with a manual grinder, as the fruit [cranberries especially] pops and squishes in a very satisfying manner upon being crushed by the corkscrew.

12 oz. cranberries, either fresh or frozen
6 mandarin oranges
1 cup sugar

Mince the cranberries with a meat grinder or food processor. Peel oranges, remove pith, quarter, and do the same. Put the glop in a bowl. Mix in sugar. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours [up to 4 days] so that flavors can meld.

Modern Wizard’s stream-of-consciousness pea soup redux

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Making the stream-of-consciousness pea soup again today with some revisions.

 

1 lb. ground beef.

1 lb. dry yellow split peas.

2 carrots, sliced. 6 carrots, sliced.

 

1 white onion, diced.

2 potatoes, cubed.

3 packets Herbox bouillon in 6 cups warm water. 6 cups water.

1/2 tsp. pepper.

1/2 tsp. thyme. 3 tsp. thyme.

Somewhere between 1/2 and 1 tsp. cumin.
2 tsp. cumin.

1 tsp. parsley.

1 tsp. salt.

6 hulking garlic cloves, minced. 8 hulking garlic cloves, minced.

Brown the meat with the garlic. Do not put the garlic in the slow cooker with all the other ingredients, as this neutralizes most of the flavor.

Cook for 7 hours on high until peas have disintegrated, stirring regularly to distribute spices.

Modern Wizard’s stream-of-consciousness slow cooker pea soup

Modern Wizard’s stream-of-consciousness slow cooker pea soup published on No Comments on Modern Wizard’s stream-of-consciousness slow cooker pea soup

Adapted from RelatedByFoodJustAddWine’s Slow Cooker Newfoundland Pea Soup. Stream of consciousness in italics adds insight into my cooking philosophy [such as it is] and practice.
Pea soup seemed  like a good thing to make in a slow cooker. It’s dense and sludgy, so it should stand up for several leftover meals.

Nope, not putting a ham bone in, even though it would be delicious. I don’t eat pigs.
Grocery store had no salt beef in stock, so that was out too, which was probably just as well, since it’s loaded with unnecessary salt. Decided that ground beef + garlic could serve just as well.

Also celery is an abomination in the eyes of the Lord. NO CELERY.

 

 

1 lb. ground beef.

1 lb. dry yellow split peas. Not sure why they have to be yellow, but there they are. Also not sure why they were in the “Mexican” aisle of the grocery store. Dividing up the grocery store along geographical and ethnic lines doesn’t make sense to me. Original amount was 2 cups, but that would have left just a little of the bag left over, so I put in the whole bag.

2 carrots, sliced.

 

1 white onion, diced. Or a big onion of any type, really. I’m not picky.

2 potatoes, cubed. Any kind of potatoes, except for sweet.

3 packets Herbox bouillon in 6 cups warm water. Original recipe calls for 6 cups, more or less, of chicken broth. The water part of the broth is obviously a necessary addition, but the chicken part seems to be there just for flavor. I mean, this recipe certainly doesn’t need any more sodium, which is why I go for Herbox, a salt-free chicken boullion powder. 6 packets Herbox + 6 cups water seems like chicken broth overkill, so I halved the bouillon.

1/2 tsp. pepper. Or just crank the pepper mill over the slow cooker until it looks like enough has been ground in.

1/2 tsp. thyme. All measurements start off with the intention of exactitude, but then err in either direction, depending on how messily I pour the spices into the measuring spoons.

Somewhere between 1/2 and 1 tsp. cumin. A large hunk of cumin jumped into the pot when I was measuring. Cumin was not in original recipe, but I added it because, after my experience with tomato-based chicken veggie stew, I realized that cumin improves lots of dishes!

1 tsp. parsley. Parsley, on the other hand, is of dubious value, unless fresh.

1 tsp. salt. Just salt until it’s well salted.

6 hulking garlic cloves, minced. I was trying to use up a head on the verge of turning green. Also you can never have too much garlic!!

Thaw ground beef. Mince garlic; mix in with beef. Brown beef; drain.

Put all ingredients in slow cooker; cook on high for 3 hours, stirring occasionally. Poke soup after three hours; taste and realize that peas have not disintegrated and flavors have not mingled.

Add more salt, pepper, and thyme. Turn down to low; cook on low for 5 more hours until peas have disintegrated. Get up at 2:00 AM; discover that soup has reached state of optimum sludge. Sample approvingly. Put in plastic storage container; wash dishes; go back to bed, looking forward to soup the next night.

Entry will be updated after serious taste testing tonight.

EDIT: This stuff is really good. It can be eaten hot or cold, and it’s especially good with savory bread — we ate it with garlic and cheese breadsticks last night, and tonight I’m going to pair it with a rosemary chive roll. It starts out porridgey, but then, as the excess water evaporates, it turns to the consistency of [delicious] cement. If you look up “hearty” in the dictionary, there is a picture of my pea soup. The flavors, like the peas themselves, disintegrate and blend over the course of cooking, so I could probably put more garlic and cumin in it without harming the taste. I was right in my assumption, however, that other spices compensate for a lack of salt; this soup needs no additional salt.

Lucille Allen’s really easy applesauce recipe

Lucille Allen’s really easy applesauce recipe published on No Comments on Lucille Allen’s really easy applesauce recipe

APPLESAUCE by Lucille V. Allen — deli 10/2015!

Macintosh apples, peeled, cored, cut into quarters

5 oz. water

3 q. saucepan

Fill saucepan with apple parts and water. Cook for 20 minutes on medium with lid on. Stir. Poke. Cook for 20 more minutes on medium. Applesauce results.

Double, double, toil and trouble: Modern Wizard’s chicken tortilla soup redux

Double, double, toil and trouble: Modern Wizard’s chicken tortilla soup redux published on No Comments on Double, double, toil and trouble: Modern Wizard’s chicken tortilla soup redux

Last week’s experiment in slow cooking still delights my taste buds, even five days later, so I’m doing it again this weekend, with the following improvements:

 

2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, chunked

various amounts of salt, pepper, cumin, EDIT: olive oil for chicken [didn’t taste any spices on chicken, waste of cumin]

1 can diced tomatoes with garlic and onion

EDIT: 1 can [~10 oz.] tomato sauce [for thickening]

sprinkling of red pepper

one big yellow onion, diced

1 jar Green Mountain Gringo medium garlic salsa

14-16 oz. chicken broth made with Herbox

1 bay leaf

1 teaspoon each of cumin and chili powder

1 tablespoon ground cilantro

2 cups water EDIT: 3 cups water

8 oz. frozen corn EDIT: increase to 12 oz.

10 oz. frozen mixed veggies
EDIT: increase to 12 oz.

6 cloves garlic, minced

various amounts of salt, pepper, cayenne pepper for the soup

Thaw chicken. Line glass baking dish with foil. Cut chicken into 1″ chunks. Drizzle with olive oil until covered. Add salt, pepper, cumin to taste. Cover baking dish with more foil. Cook in middle rack of oven preheated to 400 degrees F for ~25 minutes.

Remove chicken from olive oil; shred. Put chicken and all other ingredients in slow cooker. Cook for 3 hours on high.

 

ModernWizard’s chicken tortilla soup

ModernWizard’s chicken tortilla soup published on No Comments on ModernWizard’s chicken tortilla soup

Adapted from AllRecipes’ Slow-Cooker Chicken Tortilla Soup.

2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, chunked

various amounts of salt, pepper, cumin, olive oil for chicken

1 can diced tomatoes with garlic and onion

sprinkling of red pepper

one big yellow onion, diced

1 jar Green Mountain Gringo medium garlic salsa

14-16 oz. chicken broth made with Herbox

1 bay leaf

1 teaspoon each of cumin and chili powder

1 tablespoon ground cilantro

2 cups water

8 oz. frozen corn

10 oz. frozen mixed veggies

6 cloves garlic, minced

various amounts of salt, pepper, cayenne pepper for the soup

Thaw chicken. Line glass baking dish with foil. Cut chicken into 1″ chunks. Drizzle with olive oil until covered. Add salt, pepper, cumin to taste. Cover baking dish with more foil. Cook in middle rack of oven preheated to 400 degrees F for ~25 minutes.

Remove chicken from olive oil; shred. Put chicken and all other ingredients in slow cooker. Cook for 3 hours on high.

Really yummy this way! Salsa [instead of originally prescribed enchilada sauce, whatever that is] and fresh garlic give it a kick without it having a burning spiciness. I.e., this soup does not make my nose drip, which is fine with me. Mixed veggies add more variety than just corn. Could use a little tomato paste to thicken broth. Almost a stew with all the stuff I added. :d

ModernWizard’s slow cooker chili

ModernWizard’s slow cooker chili published on No Comments on ModernWizard’s slow cooker chili

Adapted from AllRecipes’ Spicy Slow-Cooked Chili.

2 pounds ground beef
2 cans [~16 oz] black beans, rinsed and drained
3 cans [~10 oz] diced tomatoes with chiles, drained
1 can [~16 oz] tomato sauce
1 big yellow onion, chopped
5 cloves garlic, minced
miscellaneous amounts of chili powder, cayenne pepper, and salt

miscellaneous amounts of grated cheese

miscellaneous amounts of  non-fat plain yogurt

Brown beef. Drain.

Put all ingredients in slow cooker. Cover. Cook for about 10 hours on low.

Put grated cheese and yogurt on the chili if you want.

 

Note to self: It really tastes more like chili if I remember to put the chili powder and cayenne pepper in before cooking it. Also needs more garlic.

Big Rock Candy Mountain, Hansel and Gretel, and the misery of hunger

Big Rock Candy Mountain, Hansel and Gretel, and the misery of hunger published on No Comments on Big Rock Candy Mountain, Hansel and Gretel, and the misery of hunger

I’m making a digital set with a gingerbread house, chocolate pond, marshmallow cliffs, whipped cream trees — in short, a fanciful landscape formed entirely of sweets. During my work, I have been thinking about other worlds made of food, including Hasbro’s board game Candy Land, the cottage encountered by Hansel and Gretel in the fairy tale, and the edible forest in the song “Big Rock Candy Mountain.”

At least in the examples of Hansel and Gretel and “Big Rock Candy Mountain,” the food landscape represents a sort of macabre “hunger horror.” The theme of food/hunger runs throughout Hansel and Gretel. The children use a trail of bread crumbs to lead them back home, but the crumbs are eaten by the birds, leaving the children lost and starving; they encounter the old woman when they start eating her house made of food; the old woman wants to turn Hansel into food, so she fattens him up in a cage; finally, when the woman prepares to cook Hansel, Gretel shoves her into the oven instead, thus putting the woman on the menu instead of the kid.

You can tell that Hansel and Gretel reflects the kids’ own food insecurity because everything coded as food is…well…insecure. They depend on bread crumbs to save them, but birds take away this food from them. The edible house may satisfy their empty bellies, but chewing on it leads to their imprisonment. The old woman then begins her project of turning Hansel into food, and she can only be defeated by being cooked herself. Food betrays Hansel and Gretel at every turn. It fails at its express purpose — to provide nourishment and continual survival — and instead leads Hansel and Gretel toward greater threat and possible death. The portrayal of food as an actively hostile force is why I call this “hunger horror.”

In contrast, “Big Rock Candy Mountain” seems, at first glance, a much less horrific text, a merry list of the edible features of the aforesaid mountain: “Oh the buzzing of the bees / In the cigarette trees / And the soda water fountain / By the lemonade springs / Where the bluebird sings / In the Big Rock Candy Mountain.” Most people these days know just about that much of the lyrics, leading them to cast it as a nonsense song…which is probably why I grew up listening to this song on a children’s record. [The “cigarette trees” may have been censored, however.] Beyond the chorus, though, the first verse features an itinerant homeless man singing “Of the land of milk and honey / Where a bum can stay / For many a day / And they don’t have any money.” As the rest of the song clarifies, “Big Rock Candy Mountain” is a wish fulfillment song for people who want food and shelter. The horror lies in the blatant, obvious artificiality of the fantasy [everything’s made out of food, i.e., processed], which suggests that the hobo’s dream of having his basic needs met will never come true.

 

Le yaourt est mort. Vive le yaourt!

Le yaourt est mort. Vive le yaourt! published on No Comments on Le yaourt est mort. Vive le yaourt!

The one time in my life that I didn’t want frozen yogurt, that’s exactly what I got. The aggressively chilly fridge at work froze my yogurt. I tried thawing it in the microwave, but 30 seconds left it still semisolid, while another 30 turned it into a runny, unpalatable mess. Pas de yaourt pour moi. 

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Yogurt

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I just ate a yogurt that supposedly expired at the beginning of May. Not dead yet!

Babycat cracks me up. Whenever she sees us opening up the little Greek yogurt containers, she goes O_O and parks at our feet, licking her little chops. If we give her the peach or strawberry yogurt, she sticks her little face in the container and licks out all the leavings. She refuses to do the same with the blueberry, though. 

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I hate grain moths.

I hate grain moths. published on No Comments on I hate grain moths.

These little shits have been everywhere in our pantry recently. In our attempt to evict them, we jettisoned 25 lbs. of rice and 10 lbs. of pancake mix. This incredible waste of food seems to have removed their source, though several of them are still flying around, waiting for me to hit them flat with a blank book. We need airtight storage for our cereal-based foods.

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Elizabear’s cheap, delicious vegetarian chili

Elizabear’s cheap, delicious vegetarian chili published on No Comments on Elizabear’s cheap, delicious vegetarian chili

Based on 2009’s invention, cold chili glop.

The following makes 4 to 5 servings.

Ingredients:

  • 1 can of beans [~14oz.] — black, red, pinto, etc. [black or pinto recommended]
  • 1 cup uncooked rice — brown, white, basmati, long-grain, etc. [brown or white recommended]
  • 1 jar of salsa [~16oz.] — any type [Green Mountain Salsa recommended]
  • 8-12oz. sour cream or plain yogurt [low- or full-fat recommended]
  • salt to taste

Optional:

  • shredded cheese [sharp cheddar recommended]
  • browned meat [which obviously makes it not vegetarian] [lean ground beef or turkey recommended]
  • hot sauce
  • tomato paste

NOTE: I have never included browned meat, tomato paste or hot sauce in my own experiments, so I just stuck them in the recipe at what seemed like the appropriate point. I claim no responsibility for any disgusting results you may incur by following my instructions.

Steps:

  • Start rice cooking. Put x cups of rice in at least 2x cups of water. 2.5x cups is even better, as you can always drain off the excess water later. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. 
  • While rice is cooking, open beans. Rinse and drain to get rid of slime. Put them in a clean pot large enough for at least twice, if not thrice, that amount of beans.
  • Simmer rice for a while [40+ minutes], stirring regularly and sampling occasionally. Rice is done when it is soft, but not mushy, and has absorbed almost all the water. Usually these two events coincide, but not always.
  • Remove rice from pot when done and put in with beans. Mix thoroughly. Put hot water and soap in rice pot to soak so leftover rice doesn’t congeal.
  • Open salsa. Dump in with beans and rice. Mix thoroughly. Sample. Add salt if desired.
  • If adding meat, hot sauce or tomato paste, these ingredients should go in at this point.
  • If preparing for later consumption, add enough sour cream or yogurt  to make the chili gooey, but not sloppy. Mix; sample; salt.
  • Add shredded cheese if desired. Mix; sample.
  • If preparing for immediate consumption, heat rice, beans and salsa until they are all hot. Then add sour cream or yogurt, then shredded cheese.
  • Eat it.
  • Store leftovers in sealed plastic or glass container. Chili nukes really well, but can also be enjoyed cold. Good for at least 5 days, it actually improves flavor with age.



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Trail mix, take 2

Trail mix, take 2 published on No Comments on Trail mix, take 2

Got more trail mix today in different combinations of ingredients than before. No carob chips this time, as they really make the mix taste funny. 🙁

  • raisins x 1.96 lbs
  • peanuts x 2.18 lbs
  • cashews x 1.33 lbs
  • cranberries x 0.87 lb

I know that the cranberries will make the mix SOUR, but hopefully the saltiness of the peanuts and the sweetness of the raisins will offset this flavor.

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Cake in a pinch

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I put some I Can’t Can Easily Believe It’s Not Butter on a slice of Anadama bread last night, then put Nutella on top of it. This was probably a waste of a perfectly good Great Harvest loaf, but it tasted like cake! The oil in the non-butter spread made the Nutella smoother and sweeter, like cake + frosting.

I promise to use this knowledge only for good. :p

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The history of curry

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Mostly Slate pisses me off, but occasionally it publishes something interesting. Today’s find is an article on the history of curry.

Archaeologists from the US and India are working in the Indus River Valley. They analyze the microscopic signatures of food remains to determine what people ate thousands of years ago. The ingenious methods are fascinating to read about.

Surprise surprise — they were currying the heck out of their cuisine, just the way we do today. [Well, not in exactly the same manner, but surely with the same amount of enthusiasm!]

…Now I want curry…

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Eating local is yummy!

Eating local is yummy! published on No Comments on Eating local is yummy!

I waited outside for 15 minutes today [estimated windchill factor negative a billion] because the Hindquarter, Cloud 9 Caterers’ former fire engine and current mobile food van, was parked in front of my building today, and I had to test out their burger ["House Grind, Smoked Country Bacon, Lettuce, American Cheese, Tomato Jam"] and onion rings ["Buttermilk Soaked, Malt Vinegar Aioli"].

First I ate the onion rings. They were light and crispy, with no sogginess that I usually associate with larger, cheaper versions. Their noticeably salty flavor [which I liked] was cut by the mild aioli. That’s glorified mayonnaise for you philistines. :p

Then I ate the burger, which came on a toasted, buttered bun. I appreciated this detail, as untoasted buns distract me from my burgers with their chewy texture. The meat was juicy, tender and done medium, as far as I can tell [outsides definitely cooked but not hard, insides lightly cooked but not red]. The bacon added a nice smoky note, and the cheese and lettuce were fine. Everything merged together into a hearty mess of flavors, except for the tomato jam, which did not overpower the burger, but definitely had a slight medicinal aftertaste. Could’a’ done without that, but, for $11.00, I was very pleased with my meal. Definitely worth waiting 15 minutes in the cold for!
 

This entry was originally posted at http://modernwizard.dreamwidth.org/1452279.html. You can comment here, but I’d prefer it if you’d comment on my DW using OpenID.

My mouth is happy!

My mouth is happy! published on No Comments on My mouth is happy!

I am eating frozen yogurt from SoYo, a local shop. Their yogurt base is light and slightly icy [but not crunchy], with obvious notes of dairy and a definite yogurty echo of sourness. This gives all their flavors much more depth, texture and gustatory interest.

I’m currently eating ginger flavor, which is like eating yellow fireworks, and cassis [black currant], which is like eating a delicately scented perfume. This is the best frozen yogurt ever. It’s extra yummy when it has fresh, locally grown fruit on top! :9

This entry was originally posted at http://modernwizard.dreamwidth.org/1428916.html. You can comment here, but I’d prefer it if you’d comment on my DW using OpenID.

Mmmm, I love the taste of 3-in-1.

Mmmm, I love the taste of 3-in-1. published on No Comments on Mmmm, I love the taste of 3-in-1.

I was all proud of myself this weekend for a) finding my Swiss Army knife and b) restoring it to smooth working order by lubricating it with 3-in-1. I aired it out for several days in an attempt to get rid of the oil smell, but it did not work, so I took it to work, cut up an apple with it and ate the apple. I also ate some 3-in-1 residue. It doesn't taste very good. On the plus side, I must have licked all the residue off because my jackknife no longer smells like lube.

Drastically reducing supplements taken

Drastically reducing supplements taken published on 1 Comment on Drastically reducing supplements taken

I've been taking some supplements for a while now: women's multivitamin, calcium, omega-3 fish oil, vitamin D. There's no definitive evidence that omega-3 fish oil supplements or vitamin D supplements have any health benefits, so I'm eliminating them. Time to save some money and rid my nightstand of smelly useless pills!  I'm sure that I get enough vitamins and minerals from my food to stop taking the multi, but I'm not confident enough in the calcium distribution of my diet to stop with the calcium, though. Hmmm…

Ewwwwwwwwwww…/Yummmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm!

Ewwwwwwwwwww…/Yummmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm! published on 2 Comments on Ewwwwwwwwwww…/Yummmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm!

We noticed yesterday that my work water bottle had yellow-green mold hanging around the bottom. :p Given that I haven’t replaced it since last July [it’s just a drug store water bottle with a squirt top], I decided to throw it out and get something else… This time my water bottle will be bigger and easier to clean…and I’ll put a recurrent reminder in my Outlook calendar to clean out the bottle at least every month.

In GOOD news, the best bread in the state is made just diagonally across the street from my workplace at Great Harvest Bakery. I go there at least twice a week to stock up. They’re very sneaky, in that they give out free slices of some of the day’s creations. That’s how they hook you… Since I became addicted last summer, I have tried many types of bread, including the following:

smoked Gouda and stout
pizza bread
nine grain
Gold Rush [a hearty bread with cornmeal]
Mountain Crunch [a sweet bread with gold and brown raisins and cranberries]
Popeye [has spinach]
cran apple orange
almond babke
brownie bread
challah
carrot cake cream cheese roll
spinach feta
apple cheddar
maple cinnamon chip
blueberry coffee cake
farmer’s white
farmer’s wheat
coconut almond tea bread
Mediterranean olive
green chili cheese
cinnamon swirl

They also make delicious BLT panini for lunch.

Vosges Mo’s Bacon Bar tasting

Vosges Mo’s Bacon Bar tasting published on No Comments on Vosges Mo’s Bacon Bar tasting

Verdict: Creamy, sweet, milky chocolate mixes well with chewy small bits of salty-sweet bacon. These flavors really complement each other, providing an overall depth of flavor that, while not sophisticated, is robust and pleasurable. It’s not worth the ridiculously high price that I paid for it, but it is a very good bar. If someone else buys it, you should ask to try some squares.

Vosges Red Fire bar tasting report

Vosges Red Fire bar tasting report published on No Comments on Vosges Red Fire bar tasting report

Verdict: Dark chocolate with an afterburn. The cinnamon and chilies combine to leave one’s mouth pleasantly tingly and warm after eating. Other than that, it’s a regular bar with the usual taste of dark chocolate overwhelming any tastes contributed by the cinnamon and chilies. Not worth the inflated price I paid.

Gourmet chocolate

Gourmet chocolate published on No Comments on Gourmet chocolate

I’m not a food connoisseur, but I like good food. I went to Cardullo’s in Harvard Square today and returned with $mumble$ of specialty chocoate: two Ritter Sport milk chocolate bars with strawberry creme [favorably reviewed by all the candy blogs I was drooling over yesterday], a Vosges Red Fire Bar [ancho and chipotle chilies, cinnamon, 55% cacao] and a Vosges Mo’s Bacon Bar [bacon, smoked salt, 45% cacao]. Here is a picture of my haul. Tasting reports later. Continue reading Gourmet chocolate

I don’t like high-fructose corn syrup.

I don’t like high-fructose corn syrup. published on 4 Comments on I don’t like high-fructose corn syrup.

It makes sweets taste foamy and insubstantial in a bad way, and it makes my knees feel brittle. I much prefer my sweets with cane sugar, maple syrup, fruit juice and other sweeteners not made by torturing corn. That said, I do consume some HFCS, such as in today’s candy bar [Milky Way], which, much like fast food, I immediately regretted eating after I finished the last bite. People in my cohort, class and income bracket can be so conditioned to consume junk food without thinking about it that we’re sometimes startled when we realize, Hey, this tastes bad.

Cold chili glop II

Cold chili glop II published on 1 Comment on Cold chili glop II

Pictures of ingredients and results below. Note: I only used one of the containers of yogurt, but, even with all the rice, the glop was definitely gloppy and a bit on the runny side. I could probably cut the yogurt down to 2/3 of what I used. In any case, it's a mild, filling meal. It should last me at least 4, if not 5, lunches.Continue reading Cold chili glop II

Cold chili glop

Cold chili glop published on 2 Comments on Cold chili glop

Anyone who knows me knows that I can cook, but think it a waste of time. I am, however, perfectly willing to mix things up and assemble food. In fact, if I can put my major source of dinner in one bowl [e.g., bowl of pasta with veggies, bowl of salad, bowl of soup], I consider in a triumph. These tendencies inspire my cold chili glop, detailed below. Continue reading Cold chili glop

Shokshokeh, shakshuka, chakchouka: whatever it is, it’s good!

Shokshokeh, shakshuka, chakchouka: whatever it is, it’s good! published on 1 Comment on Shokshokeh, shakshuka, chakchouka: whatever it is, it’s good!

There is a yummy concoction common to many countries in southwest Asia ["the Middle East"] and far northern Africa in which stewed tomatoes, sauteed onions, peppers and garlic are put on brown rice with loosely poached eggs on top. Andala Coffee House, right near my apartment, calls it shokshokeh, but the dish is also spelled shakshuka, chakchouka, etc. Since I first tasted shokshokeh at Andala, I will spell it Andala’s way and tell you about Andala’s ingredients.

Now shokshokeh is a recipe that varies depending on what you put in it. The only constants are eggs and tomatoes. The Andala version has stewed tomatoes, sauteed onions and garlic on top of fluffy brown rice. On top of the tomato sauce are two poached eggs seeping into the tomatoes [but not too much]. I could eat it for breakfast, lunch and dinner because it’s a good amount of food, neither too heavy nor too filling.

As I mentioned, recipes for shokshokeh vary. Here’s one from Jewlicious that eschews onions. The one from MoTV calls for scrambled, not poached, eggs. The one from Mediterrasian.com has a lot of fiery red spices in it, but the version I have experience with is mild and savory. Maybe I will try to get the recipe from Andala!

Chewy gluey cookies

Chewy gluey cookies published on 3 Comments on Chewy gluey cookies

Little Debbie Oatmeal Creme Pies, also known as two gooey oatmeal cookies stuck together with sugar paste, are delicious. I think the soft, chewy texture appeals to me the most; I have a peculiar affinity for glutinous foods. They’re like oatmeal cookie whoopie pies, but without overmuch whoopie.

Grapefruit yogurt cake, now with pictures!

Grapefruit yogurt cake, now with pictures! published on No Comments on Grapefruit yogurt cake, now with pictures!

Verdict: A dense, moist, fluffy cake, substantial, but not as heavy as pound cake, this lightly flavored grapefruit cake is perfected with a grapefruit glaze that cuts the sweetness with a zippy bit of citrus flavor.

Recipe from Smitten Kitchen. Made by my wife!!  Continue reading Grapefruit yogurt cake, now with pictures!

Mini-misu SUCCESS!

Mini-misu SUCCESS! published on No Comments on Mini-misu SUCCESS!

I had a mini-misu for breakfast. It looked like tiramisu, smelled like it, behaved like it and, importantly, really tasted like tiramisu! When I next try the recipe…

I will add the vanilla extract and cut down on the sugar at least 25%. In the future, I would also like to try bases other than angel food cake…Grape-Nuts, for example.  They absorb liquid really well. I also have an idea for Grape-Nuts base, cheesy goodness, then strawberries [prepared as if for shortcake] on top, along with chocolate powder. It will be called Road Kill in Mud Season because of what it looks like. Yum yum!

Mini-misu…now with pictures!

Mini-misu…now with pictures! published on No Comments on Mini-misu…now with pictures!

I adjusted my tiramisu recipe. I reduced its size to make two little tiramisus, each in a ramekin, or mini-misus. Pictures and recipe alterations below.

Ingredients for 2 mini-misus

2 cups 1/2 cup fat-free ricotta cheese.
1 tsp vanilla extract.  Shit…I forgot the vanilla extract this time.
1/2 cup low-fat, non-dairy whipped topping [new ingredient].
1/4 cup granulated superfine sugar.
1/2 lb 3 slices angel food cake.
1/2 cup instant decaf coffee.
1 tsp 1/2 tsp cocoa powder.

Instructions

Make coffee in a wide-mouth container. Let cool. Ignore foul stench.
Mix ricotta, vanilla extract whipped topping and sugar in a bowl.
Slice the cake.
Dip one face of each slice Dunk the whole piece of cake quickly into the coffee. Coffee should soak the cake about halfway through, but leave the other side dry.
Put the slices dry side down in a casserole dish or similar till they cover the bottom of the dish. Put 1 1/2 slices of coffee-soaked cake in the bottom of a ramekin.
Spread the cheesy goodness on top of the coffee-soaked cake.
Sprinkle 1/4 tsp of cocoa powder on the top of each mini-misu.
Refridgerate the mini-misus for at least an hour.
Eat it!!

http://www.oddpla.net/blog/tiramisu/tiramisu2.JPG

Results of tiramisu experimentation

Results of tiramisu experimentation published on 2 Comments on Results of tiramisu experimentation

I checked out my tiramisu made from the improvisational recipe mentioned earlier.

It looked like tiramisu, smelled like tiramisu and behaved like tiramisu. It didn’t taste quite like tiramisu, though. Things to change when I make it again:

Put more sweetener in the ricotta.

Experiment with artificial sweetener.

Possibly thin the ricotta by adding some skim milk.

Or put half whipped topping, half ricotta, to make it less sludgy.

Soak both sides of the angel food cake until it is soggy all the way through, but not disintegrating. It will harden a bit in the fridge.

Do not put cocoa on top. It tastes like chalk.

Make small experimental versions with just a few ladyfingers.

Tiramisu for the culinarily lethargic

Tiramisu for the culinarily lethargic published on No Comments on Tiramisu for the culinarily lethargic

One of my favorite desserts is tiramisu. I do not eat it frequently, though, because it’s expensive [involving Mascarpone cheese] and complicated [involving egg whites and other daunting things]. However, in the wake of a truly tasty birthday tiramisu for a coworker last week, I sought online for tiramisu recipes. Inspired by the recipe section on Heavenly Tiramisu, I combined several recipes to create a tiramisu-like dessert for the culinarily challenged. Best of all, it involves no raw eggs, no Mascarpone cheese and no liquor!Continue reading Tiramisu for the culinarily lethargic

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