Monthly Archives: January 2016

Feast Your Eyes (What I’ve Cooked Lately)

My phone has been yelling at me for the last two months about storage getting full, so here I go with a photo dump. So here are all the food photos I’ve taken since August!

First off is the ever-present homemade pizza. I did a pizza-making demonstration at work and had TONS of dough (using a modified recipe off Jim Lahey, maybe the easiest recipe ever) and fresh homemade ricotta sitting around, so I threw it together with some summer veggies. I think this was three different doughs actually, since I made a few different flour ratios and rising times with my demo doughs. Anyway, zucchini and tomato and ricotta and herbs = goodness.

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Five days later and I was still not sick of cheese and veg.

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It was a side for beef hot dogs – one with mustard, celery seed, and pickles as a poor easterner’s Chicago dog, and an Asian dog with ginger pickled watermelon rinds and sriracha (not as good as the pickle and mustard).

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That pizza dough still wasn’t gone and there was only like 12 ounces of parmesan that I felt bad keeping for myself since I’d purchased it for work, so… cheezy bread was made and sacrificed to the break room gods.

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And then I decided to show off my new trick with silken tofu. If you blend it with salt, garlic, cracked pepper, a pinch of nutmeg, and some oil, you have a really fine vegan alfredo. It makes a killer spinach-artichoke dip base, too. Here I threw it with some chicken, Trader Joe’s asta, and some spinach for a nice supper.

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I had lots of extra veggies one day that needed to be used up and it had been too long since I’d last made an egg casserole, so in it all went with zucchini, orange pepper, onion, and some broccoli / carrot / cauliflower frozen mix. Here it is before going in the oven, in all its veggie glory.

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But before enjoying that for lunch, collard green quesadillas with fresh smoked buffalo mozzarella and guajillo salsa, blistered under the broiler.

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It was a nice day on my lunch break when I got to lay in to my egg casserole, so I enjoyed it at the bench outside with a cup of tea.

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We had a September wedding in New Jersey and stopped to visit friends, sharing the new pizza dough technique (and some beer) with them.

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On the way back home we stopped at Mitsuwa Marketplace, and really, really stocked up. Plum wine, shochu, calpico, tea, and ramune were our drinks (really enjoyed the lychee calpico), baby bok choy were way too cute to pass up, enoki and shiitake mushrooms were as irresistible as the red shiso leaf that my farmer friend had introduced me to last year, we got bean sprouts, noodles, squid (!), squid snacks for the hubs who enjoyed them in Moscow, pickled ume, gigantic soup bowls and chopsticks with which to enjoy our acquisitions, and all the fixins for okonomiyaki – okonomi flour, kewpie mayo, sauce, bonito flakes. Plus some chestnut candies (really great, they taste like butter), chocolate mushrooms, and some daifuku mochi. Forgot the nori flakes for the okonomiyaki and had to order them off Amazon, but oh well. We had a good haul.

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Which we then made into some delicious meals. Kevin made udon with squid rings and adorable bok choy.

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I used some silken tofu to make mushroom soup and a salad. Enoki have a delicate little sweet taste, almost like underripe watermelon. They’re really delicious.

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And of course, the okonomiyaki I’ve wanted to try since I was a little pup reading Angelfire websites about Ranma 1/2. And it was sooo delicious. It took me a while to figure out what size to make them, and these were monstrous (albeit mostly cabbage).

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Using up the last of the enoki in my ubiquitous soba noodle soups. Took this one for lunch and threw in spicy firm tofu and spinach.

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Later I tried my hand at soy sauce eggs, which I saw in a Momofuku cookbook. They were awesome, and I put them in more noodle soups as the weeks went by.

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The bag of okonomi flour said you could put whatever you want in it, so we did pulled pork and provolone okonomiyaki from leftovers from Philly-style pork provolone green subs.

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When our anniversary came around, we decided to go Caucasian. Kevin made Azeri-style stuffed veggies with lamb, and I made Georgian walnut-stuffed eggplant roll-ups and a little side salad. We also had some wine from our anniversary the year before.

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Fall brings fall veggies and new pizzas! The silken tofu sauce wasn’t as good on here as the feta, but the roasted brussels sprouts, butternut squash, Balsamic roasted caramelized cipollini onions, and hot Italian sausage were great.

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I can’t help but make those soups. Another attempt at medium-boiled soy eggs with pork and soba noodles, with raw sweet peppers from a farmstand, green onion, and fresh vinegar and salt-brined thin cucumbers for crunch.

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We weren’t sure what to do with some leftover jalapenos, but we managed. Spicy cornbread-stuffed jalapenos with a little meat inside, Mom’s salsa, and a lovely yogurt-avocado sauce I threw together.

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We still had peppers and lots of onions, so another pizza with spring mix wilted on top!

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And then in early November, I finally figured out a flippable portion of okonomiyaki and the world was at peace.

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Squash sauce had been intriguing me, and it gave me an idea for healthy mac and cheese sauce. It’s mostly butternut squash and some half-and half with nutmeg and probably a little cumin (and the last of those cipollini onions), and I baked it with Trader Joe’s whole wheat shells and a small bit of cheese chunks mixed in – cheddar or gouda or both or something similar – and sprinkled with lightly buttered breadcrumbs. It really was great, and thankfully I made extras!

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On the side, collard greens made with onions and thick-cut Trader Joe’s applewood bacon.

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Beef and eggplant became khoresht-e bademjan, a Persian stew.

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We really felt like Southern night, so pulled pork sandwiches with light creamy coleslaw (and probably a little Provolone cheese on the bottom), cornbread, pie-spiced kabocha squash, and tomato-onion collard greens. Or turnip greens maybe. This was the year we discovered that turnip greens are lovely.

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Too many greens? That’s okay, we’ll make pies with pizza dough and kidney beans.

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Another nice batch of yogurt-avocado sauce topped a tostada-like thing. Meat and mushrooms were under there I think…

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Early December, and this is how you do stock – simmering for hours so all the gelatin comes out from those turkey bones leftover from the Thanksgiving sale. They make for a rich noodle soup that stays in the shape of its container until you heat it.

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We had a friend up that Kevin met in Moscow, and it seemed like a great time to try our khachapuri – we got smoked mozzarella and some solghuni from the Russian store, but I think it might have been too watery (or the recipe we used called for egg in the cheese mixture and that might have been the off part) and I shaped it well but the insides weren’t as delectable as I’d hoped. Oh well, there’s lots of time to play with it. Here they are after shaping and before the oven.

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And the finished product, topped with jiggly egg, and served with more eggplant roll-ups! (And beer, always beer. This comes from Thimble Island.)

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And the last really interesting concoction for now – falafel burgers with green bean fries! I dipped them in a spicy batter and roasted them until the beans collapsed, and topped the burger with lettuce, tomato, and tahini yogurt dip. That’s red pepper hummus for dipping, by the way.

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