Shiitake to me Scramble

When it comes to egg dishes, you can’t go wrong with goat cheese, spinach, and mushrooms. At least for me.

You also can’t go wrong with scrambles, because sometimes making omelets doesn’t work out for people and they become scrambles anyway.

Egg dishes tend to be healthy alternatives to breakfast as well and this scramble from Cook This, Not That ensures that you keep it that way.

What you’ll need

  • 1 1/2 tablespoon of butter
  • 1 cup of sliced shiitake mushrooms
  • 1 cup of frozen spinach, thawed
  • 8 eggs
  • 2 tablespoons of 2% milk
  • 1/2 cup of fresh goat cheese

The first step is to get your favorite frying pan out, heat the burner to medium, and place 1 tablespoon of butter on top. Once that butter starts to melt almost completely, add your mushrooms. Cook those mushrooms until slightly browned and then set the mushrooms aside.

Get your pan back out, sans mushrooms, and add the spinach. Season with salt and pepper and cook until spinach is nicely heated. Remove the spinach and drain the excess water.

We are now ready to prepare our eggs. Do so by mixing the eggs with the milk in a large bowel. Season with salt and pepper and whisky a go-go away.

Now go back to your empty pan and add the remaining butter. After the butter melts, heat the pan to low and add the egg mixture. Stir the egg mixture continuously until egg lumps start to form. Once those lumps start to form in soft shapes add in the mushrooms, spinach, and goat cheese. Cook and stir this mixture until the eggs seem fully cooked.

You are now ready to enjoy your scramble!

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Shiitake, spinach, and goat cheese scramble

As I said earlier, for me you can’t go wrong with mushrooms, spinach, and goat cheese. Naturally, I enjoyed this meal immensely. The eggs were nice and fluffy and the shiitake mushrooms paired well in texture and taste. Then there’s the goat cheese. Mmmm, goat cheese is so good!

If you have time to make yourself breakfast in the morning, do make this dish. You will be satisfied on all realms.

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Not Your Mama’s Spinach

I’m talking to you Popeye!

Unless you’re Italian, than it could be your Mama’s spinach. I mean when your girl’s name is Olive Oyl there’s gotta be some Italian connection there.

I guess she could be Greek, though. Olive Oyl isn’t exclusively Italian.

This Spinaci Saltati recipe comes from The Italian Mama’s Kitchen and is another healthy and simple recipe fit for any beloved sailor that needs to beat up some hooligans.

What you’ll need.

  • 2 1/4 pounds fresh spinach
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • 3-4 tablespoons of olive oyl
  • 2 large garlic cloves, peeled
  • Pinch of grated nutmeg
  • Black pepper to taste

The first step is to remove any tough stems from the spinach, unless you went with frozen spinach. No need to do anything but thaw for that.

Popeye recommends that you do use fresh spinach. He understands most people see him eating out of a can, but that’s for emergencies. The best bang for your buck if you want to bang someone up is to cross train with fresh spinach and not roid out with canned spinach.

If you use fresh spinach, fill a large saucepan with water and salt to bring to a boil. Once it’s boiled, you will add the spinach and simmer for 3 minutes. Drain the water once the minutes are up.

Then heat 2 tablespoons of olive oyl in a large skillet over low heat. Add the garlic to the oyl to allow the two sensations to join together.

Next add the spinach and toss the mixture over medium heat until the spinach is nice and warm. This should take about two minutes. Add the dash of nutmeg and season with salt and pepper.

You are almost ready to serve and to do so, remove the garlic, place the spinach on a plate, and then drizzle it with oyl.

The final result is a fresh, healthy side dish for a family meal. The taste of garlic fused with oil and spinach makes this healthy green leaf taste velvety and comforting. The dash of nutmeg gives it a slight edge that Popeye would approve of.

Popeye and Olive Oyl. They do good together.

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Chicken added for scale and for extra taste

Hannibal Lector’s Favorite Salad

Today we will discuss Classic Pasta at Home’s Fava Bean and Pecorino Salad. A favorite for Dr. Lector, he pairs it with his favorite Chianti and liverwurst that he gets at some special butcher shop. I can’t remember which one….I think it’s called Buffalo Bill’s Exotic Meats or something.

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Dr. Lector and his Chianti

Unfortunately, I ran into Dr. Lector while shopping for fava beans. His love of fava beans has no bounds. He bought them all up at the grocery store and was unwilling to share any with me. He said something about having a special dinner party and that he would invite me, but he had already “outdone” himself as it was. I don’t know what that meant, but Dr. Lector has always been a little off.

So I had to substitute with lima beans. Thankfully no other substitutes were needed.

What you’ll need:

  • 4 lbs of fava beans
  • 2 1/2 – 3 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons of minced green onion, stem included
  • salt and pepper
  • lemon juice to taste
  • 8 – 12 soft lettuce leaves, preferably red. (Dr. Lector prefers the shade of Chianti)
  • 2 oz pecorinio cheese such as Toscanello or Manchego.

The first step in making this salad is to shell the fava or lima beans. To do this, you must either soak overnight or boil them for what seems like an eternity. Don’t be impatient with this step because it can make or break this salad. In other words, you don’t want the beans to be hard.

If you use the boil method, have a bowl of ice water ready. This creates a fast hot to cold effect that will rip off the skin of the bean. Buffalo Bill told me about this wonderful method by the way.

Drain the water once you let it cool down and then mix the beans in a large bowl with the olive oil and the green onions. Once these are mixed, you can add the salt, pepper, and lemon juice to your liking.

We are now ready to add the lettuce. Do so by tearing the lettuce into bite sized pieces and tossing gently along with rest of the salad.

The final step is to garnish with some cheese! My favorite part!

The cookbook recommends using a vegetable peeler and shaving the cheese into paper-thin slices. I grated mine, but I do think the shaved method would produce a greater taste of cheese. Being a cheese lover, I wished I had done this instead.

Can’t live in the past, though, right?

Anyway, you will want to toss the cheese as well. Once you have done so, it will be ready for consumption. Pair it with whatever you wish, unless it’s Hannibal Lector that is. I wouldn’t recommend that.

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Chicken Satay Up Yours, Another Meal Involving Sticks Up Things

I haven’t been following up on the Chinese New Year folks. What is it the year of again? Oh yeah, it’s the year of the Monkey.

Well for my American New Year, so far, it has been the year of the kebab.

If you read my last entry, than you’re probably obsessed with me or hate me, which isn’t mutually exclusive. There’s a fine line between love and hate. There is also a fine fine line between a lover and a friend. Most of Los Angeles struggles with this.

What was the point I was I trying to make before I had to make another point? Oh yeah! If you read my last post, I made a shrimp skewer dish. Well this time, I’m making a Chicken skewer dish with peanut sauce from I Love Spice.

What you’ll need.

  • 4 skinless, boneless chicken breasts cut into 3/4-inch/2cm cubes (I just got a package that was probably a pound and cut them into some sort of cubes. I mean are you going to measure your meat? No you are not.)
  • 4 tablespoons of soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon of cornstarch
  • 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • Cucumber cubes, for serving and eating
  • 2 tablespoons of peanut or vegetable oil
  • 1/2 onion, finely chopped
  • 4 tablespoons of crunchy peanut butter
  • 4-5 tablespoons of water
  • 1/2 teaspoon of chili powder

The first step in this recipe is to take the chicken that you probably didn’t measure into 3/4 inch cubes and place it in a shallow dish. Seriously, who measures the cubes of their food? I need Italian grandmother measurements for this! My mind does not work that way. Tell me, one thumbs length or something. That makes sense to me.

Anyway, in a small bowl you will mix the soy sauce, cornstarch, 2 cloves of garlic, and ginger. When this is properly mixed, you will pour it over the chicken, cover, and marinate for at least two hours. Marinate in a fridge too because no one wants e coli unless they are under a voodoo spell.

This next step was not necessary for me, because I have metal skewers. If you have wooden ones, though, then you want to soak them in cold water for a half hour.

When you think you’re about ready to cook your chicken, preheat the oven to 375 and place your chicken cubes on your skewers. Heat a ridged grill pan until hot. (I do not have a ridged grill pan, so I just put some aluminum foil on my oven rack.) Add the skewers to whatever heated surface you use on high heat for 3-4 minutes. Turn them every once in awhile while cooking until they turn brown as well. Once the chicken has browned, put the skewers on a pan and cook in the oven for 5-8 minutes.

While all of this is happening, you can make the peanut sauce. The first step for that is to heat oil in a pan. When the oil is hot, add the onion and the remaining garlic clove over medium heat. Once the onion has softened you will add he peanut butter, water, and chili powder. Simmer this for 2-3 minutes.

When you have completed all of these steps, you are ready to arrange your skewers with the cucumber and sauce!

I was pleased with this recipe. It’s not difficult and you can get away with not having any kind of grill pan.

The marinating is what sells this recipe. I’m not a huge fan of soy sauce, but when it comes to marinating meat in it, I’m all in. Soy sauce makes the chicken juicy and tender, as well as adding a bit of a salty taste. Pair that in garlic and you are in instant heaven!

The peanut sauce was tasty as well, but I didn’t love it enough to need it.

If I were to make it again, I think I’d just add some rice and make a feta cucumber salad. Basically I would turn this dish into a Thai Greek child. I just want to make Greece great again and free Thailand. Two birds, one stone people.

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Chicken, cucumber, and peanut sauce

 

 

 

 

Miso Chunky and Vegan Soup

I know the title is lame guys. I know it is. My sparks of creativity are just not flowing right now. Maybe they never have? Why can’t I be the mad genius I dreamed of being as a little girl? The kind people whisper about and say, “That girl is crazier than a nest of bat excrement, but damn is she a talented genius!”

I could be like Christian Bale, Marlon Brando, Tesla, or even the log lady from Twin Peaks! I mean she’s not crazy, but she can talk to a log! That log knows all and that’s impressive.

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Sadly, I am not a log lady nor a genius. I might be a little crazy, but every time I try to get a psychiatrist to diagnose me they’re just like, “Eh…you’re an emotional person, but you’re a little too self aware”

I’m just not reaching any of my major goals.

Maybe I’m a manipulative genius who is so talented I manipulate myself? If that’s true, that’s just not rewarding and kind of useless.

Cooking is useful and rewarding though! Hopefully I’m getting better at it, but it’s hard to say because unfortunately I have to give another meh review.

This Chunky Miso Vegetable Soup comes from Isa Does It. Isa has not been doing it for me lately, which is sad, because I like her first few recipes. Isa and I come from different worlds, though. She’s vegan and lives on the east coast. I love cheese and live in LA. She’s Jewish, I went to catholic school. She’s a brunette and I’m a fake blonde. Despite these differences we’ve come so far and I’m not about to give up on her now.

Anyway, here are the ingredients,

  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil
  • 1 large yellow onion, diced
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 cup of peeled carrots in 1/4 inch slices
  • 2 ribs of celery, cut into 1/4 inch slices
  • 4 cups of cauliflower florets
  • 1 cup of green beans trimmed and cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 6 cups of vegetable broth
  • several pinches of freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 15 ounce can of kidney beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1/2 cup of mellow white miso
  • 1 cup of thinly sliced scallions

The first step is to preheat your oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. When the oil has heated up, add the onion with a pinch of salt. Saute this for about three minutes or until the onion has softened. The next set is the carrots and celery. You will saute them for three minutes as well. Then you add the cauliflower, green beans, broth, and the pepper.

Cover your pot and allow it to boil. Once boiled, reduce the heat to a simmer for about 10 minutes. While your soup is simmering, leave the lid on, but propped open ajar.

The goal for now is to allow the cauliflower to tender and once it has tendered you can add the beans and miso. I have a note about the miso. I got mine at Trader Joes, but it was a miso soup mix. I was sure to pick the most basic one I could find, however, the next day I was in Lassen’s and found the type of miso Isa wants you to use. I decided that from now, when I’m making one of Isa recipes I should shop at Lassen’s.

It is a health food store after all.

Whatever miso you pick up, you’ll want to stir it in your pot until it dissolves. Once it has dissolved, pepper and salt to your liking, add some scallions, and serve.

As I said, for me this soup came out ok. I think my problem is that I’ve lost my enjoyment for miso soup. Meaning, I used to love miso, but lately my feelings have been lukewarm.

It’s not fair to miso. Miso deserves better. If you love miso, though, than I imagine you’ll love this recipe. So try it out and enjoy!

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Miso pretty?

 

 

Supernova French Salads

The next few recipes from At Home with the French Classics are variations of Endive salads. So I’ve decided to just group them all together, but I will not be preparing them all at once. I’m in no mood for an endive buffet, sorry guys.

Pink Grapefruit and Endive Salad

The first variation listed is an Endive and Pink Grapefruit Salad aka Salade d’Endives et de Pamplemousse Rose.

Pamplemousse is a word I find extremely enjoyable right now. I feel like going around all day saying pamplemousse to people. Maybe in the process I’ll make a French friend. Un ami français, if you will. 

These salads are easy to make by the way. The best part about them is that they can become your own personal art project. I’m a Picasso type artist myself, but basically you arrange endive salads in a circle creating  a flower like effect.

For the grapefruit one, you put chunks of grapefruit in the middle.

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It’s abstract, deal with it.

I’m clearly an artisanal food genius here folks. This is some pure food Cubism that Picasso would be impressed by.

Enough about me, though, let us move on to the logistics.

What you’ll need for this recipe is 2 tablespoons of white wine vinegar, 2 pinches of salt, 2 pinches of pepper, 1/2 cup of light vegetable oil, 3 Belgian endives, and one large pink grapefruit.

The first step in making this salad is to mix the vinaigrette. This consists of the vinegar, salt, pepper, and oil. Add the oil to the mix last to guarantee a balanced mix.

The next step is to peel off the leaves of your endives until you almost get to the core of the vegetable. In other words, you want fairly large leaves to place the grapefruit inside.

Speaking of the grapefruit, this cookbook has useful instructions on how to peel and cut it. That tip is to first cut off the ends and then do the apple trick only with a twist. What I mean by the apple trick is the old fashioned technique of peeling an apple where you take a knife and slowly peel in a diagonal formation. You will do the same with the grapefruit, but add a sawing motion as well. This is important, because grapefruit skin is stockier than apple skin. You’ve got to saw that baby off like Buffalo Bill would.

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Grapefruit doesn’t require lotion Bill!

I actually don’t know if Buffalo Bill sawed skin off, I shouldn’t make such claims. I just thought it would be funny. Sorry Bill!

Once you have the grapefruit peeled, you cut in half and then section it off based on it’s natural divisions. Meaning, tear apart at the seams already naturally placed by the fruit.

You will now be ready to serve. To do so, reference the picture above, (the grapefruit, not Bill) and then sprinkle it with your vinaigrette. That’s all there is to it.

My cookbook says that somehow these two bitter fruits are able to cancel out their bitterness by hanging out together. Almost like if you multiply two negative numbers, you get a positive.

Despite these mathematics, I still thought it was a little bitter. I’m kind of a bitter person at times, though, so maybe my bitterness cancelled out the mathematical taste rule. I’d consult a mathematician to be sure.

Watercress and Endive Salad

The second Endive salad variation includes watercress. The French call it Salade d’Endives et de Cresson.

The watercress version of this endive salad is best enjoyed in the winter. Not because it warms your heart or anything, but because that’s when most vegetables are in mercury retrograde. Watercress and endives are immune to the toils of mercury.

What you’ll need

  • 3 Belgian Endives, separated into leaves
  • 1 bunch of watercress, stems removed
  • 2 tablespoons of white wine vinegar
  • 2 pinches of salt
  • 2 pinches of pepper
  • 1/2 cup of light vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon of Dijon mustard

The process of making this variation is almost the same as the grapefruit. You will prepare the vinaigrette the same way, except for the addition of Dijon.

This time around I used grapeseed oil instead of vegetable. Grapeseed oil is a healthy alternative and it seemed to enhance the taste. If the healthy alternative is good, you might as well use it.

The placement of the salad is also similar to the grapefruit variation. You peel the first few endive leaves to use to create a star shape. In this variation, instead of the watercress being place on top of the leaves, you just place it in the middle with the leaves jetting out.

You can also slice and dice your endive and mix it with the watercress. I did both. Taste wise, I prefer slicing and dicing. It’s easier to eat and you can use the whole endive. Aesthetically, the star method is cute and it is fun. You can’t discredit that.

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Watercress Star

I liked this variation better than the grapefruit. I thought it was tasty, light, and fresh. I felt like a tall gazelle while eating it. Thankfully I’m not a gazelle, because then I’d probably get eaten by a lion or something.

Endive and Walnut

Our third installment is more of the chopped salad variety and includes walnuts.

It includes the same ingredients as far as the dressing goes, but if you’re feeling extra nutty the cookbook does recommend substituting the vegetable oil with walnut oil. For those of you on a budget, this is a little expensive in comparison to vegetable oil. If you’re going to shell out the cash for it, I recommend finding other recipes that call for it.

What you’ll need

  • 3 Belgian Endives, leaves separated and cut into 1/2 inch pieces
  • 30 walnut halves
  • 2 tablespoons of white wine vinegar
  • 2 pinches of salt
  • 2 pinches of pepper
  • 1/2 cup of light vegetable oil (optional to substitute two tablespoons of this with walnut oil)

Making this salad is pretty straight forward. There aren’t many steps in making this. You cut the endive, slice the walnuts into halves, add the dressing and then toss all together. Making the dressing consists of the remaining ingredients whisked together.

Extremely simple.

So far, this is my favorite endive salad. It was crisp, light, and crunchy. The cookbook says it’s usually served in winter as a side dish with some hearty meat, but I think it’d be great as a soup/salad combo myself.

I like that this one is chopped too. As pretty as the supernova endive leaves are, they just aren’t as satisfying in terms of texture and taste.

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Salad d’Endives aux Noix

Endive and Beets

Salade d’Endives et de Betteraves is the beet version and final installment of the Supernova Salads.

This one turned out to be another favorite due to mixing of boiled egg and beets. I can’t think of the proper words to describe the taste and texture of these two. It’s just comforting to me. Like warm butter and jelly on toast.

What you’ll need

  • 6 large beets
  • 3 endives
  • 3 tablespoons of tarragon vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons of lemon juice
  • 1-2 teaspoons of Dijon mustard
  • 1 garlic clove, halved
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon of pepper
  • 3/4 cup light vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon of olive oil
  • Boiled eggs

The first step is to bake your beets. Do so by pre-heating your oven to 400 and cutting off all stems, roots, and leaves from your beets.

Beets are a little hairy and dirty, so give them a nice scrubby bath before you continue to the next step which is to wrap them in aluminum foil. Place these wrapped beets in a pan and bake for  about 45 minutes.

You’ll know the 45 minutes were efficient if you can stick a knife and easily pierce the center of the beet.

Allow the beets to cool into a couple of beatniks, peel the skin and then dice then up.

You will then toss them in a dressing with ingredients provided above.

To make that dressing, first mix the vinegar, lemon juice, mustard, garlic, salt and pepper together. Then add the two remaining oils and you’re done!

As I said mix this dressing with the beets and then arrange those beets in the center of your serving plate.

The next step is to place the endive leaves so that they surround the beet mound, similar to recipes above.

The final step is my favorite, which is dicing a boiled egg and sprinkling on top.

You now have an artistic and tasty flower salad to eat!

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Monkey See, Monkey Do, but Monkey Don’t You Dare Eat Healthy Banana Pancakes

My latest recipe comes from Cook This, Not That. For once, I have to say I’d rather eat the fattening thing, and not cook and eat that.

It’s such a let down when I don’t like a recipe that looked scrumptious and delectable. My disappointment was amplified due to the fact that it’s also supposed to be a healthy alternative. It wasn’t disgusting, but the cookbook claimed that with cottage cheese and yogurt as a base, my pancakes would be fluffy and scrumptious. They were more like bland, crumbly, and dry. The only saving grace were the bananas. I forced myself to eat my leftovers the next day and I just smothered that pancake in bananas. Syrup would help too, I bet, but I didn’t have any syrup.

If a pancake is fluffy and buttery enough, I actually prefer to eat without syrup. I used to smother my pancakes with syrup, like most mid-westerners, until I realized I wasn’t sure what a pancake tasted like without all the bells and whistles. So one day I tried it without and came to the conclusion that syrup wasn’t always necessary. I tried the same thing with sushi and found that I loved the taste on its own. In fact soy sauce ruins the taste for me now, so I never use it.

My mini food experimentation made me realize that with many foods, we learn to automatically eat it in a certain way. We aren’t even sure if we like it that way, we just copy what our culture taught us. How do you know if it’s better that way, if you don’t try it plain first? For the weight conscious, you’re just automatically adding calories for something you might not even like all that much. So why eat everything the way society tells us to? Branch out. Rebel. It’ll be ok.

You will fail sometimes. It’s inevitable, but taking risks is what makes life enjoyable. I failed when I tried to make these healthy banana pancakes, but at least I know. Right?

What you need are, 1 cup of plain 2% Greek yogurt, 1 cup of low-fat cottage or ricotta cheese, 3 eggs, juice of 1 lemon, 1 cup of white whole wheat flour, 1/2 tsp baking soda, and 2 sliced bananas.

The first step is to make your pancake batter. To do so, whisk the yogurt, cottage cheese, eggs, and lemon juice in a medium bowl. In a larger bowl, mix the flour, baking soda, and a pinch of salt. Once your two bowls are mixed, combine bowls to unleash your ultimate pancake batter power.

The next step is get your pancake skillet out. I know you all have one. Do what you normally would do with pancakes, except this time around add three to four banana slices soon after your batter hits the pan. The next steps are normal pancake cooking steps. In case someone out there doesn’t know how to cook pancakes, all you do is cook one side for at least 3 minutes and then flip it and cook the other side for about 3 minutes.

I would like to mention a useful tip that this cookbook provided as well. I actually do the same thing whenever I’m making pancakes or appetizers that take awhile to cook through the whole batch. While you are waiting to cook the rest of your batch, set your oven to 200 degrees and place your cooked pancakes in the oven. This temperature setting keeps the pancakes warm and won’t result in overcooking. That way, when you are finally finished nothing will have gotten cold in the process.

I know I already let the cat out of the bag that I was disappointed in these pancakes, but I wouldn’t mind trying it again. I think I might have messed up with the type of flour I used. I had some white whole wheat flour, but it’s probably kind of old. I’m guessing that might have affected the texture a little. Also, I’m curious to see how it would turn out if I used ricotta cheese instead of cottage cheese.

If all else fails and you find yourself disappointed like I was, smother them with bananas. The bananas will save you. That’s why monkeys like them so much.

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Crumbly, bland banana pancakes

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Sad banana pancakes