Monday, September 27, 2010

A Quickie Post

Well, Yom tov has been great so far, and I'm really loving the stretches of nothing to worry about. However, eventually, all that "nothing to worry about" catches up with you after yom tov is over and you're scrambling to get all your school work done. So this post is a quickie.

I just made some eggs. This may not sound too thrilling. In fact, it's not TOO thrilling. But these are good eggs. So I'll share their secret.

Now remember, this is just between you and me, so no telling, k? The secret? {curry and s'chug}

Did you catch that? Good. So here's the recipe. Enjoy!

Yummy Spinach Eggs

Ingredients:
  • 1/2 Cup Egg Beaters (or two eggs)
  • 1/2 Cup fresh spinach
  • 1 tablespoon chopped garlic (from a jar)
  • 1/4 Cup shredded mozzarella
  • 1/4 teaspoon curry powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon s'chug (Israeli jalapeno dip)
  • 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
  • salt and pepper, to taste
Instructions:
  1. Beat eggs, cheese, s'chug and seasonings in a bowl.
  2. Spray a nonstick frying pan with some Pam and saute garlic on medium heat for about 1 minute
  3. Add spinach and saute until wilted and dark green, about 1-2 minutes.
  4. Add in egg mixture and cook eggs to your liking (scrambled or omelet style)
  5. Serve the eggs on a toasted bagel, or on their own. Eat and enjoy!

This came out really yummy for me. I hope you like them too.

Enjoy the rest of your chag (holiday)!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

The Best Minestrone Soup I've Ever Had

I know what you're all thinking (all two of you!). "Two posts in one week?! Is she MAD?!" Yes. I am. But that's neither here nor there. I'm here to talk to you about the single most important food group out there: Soup.



I have always been a soup fiend. When I go to restaurants, it's the thing on the menu that usually attracts me the most (and appetizers, my other favorite food group). I've often thought that if I were to go on any kind of diet, it would be a soup diet. In my opinion, there's just nothing more satisfying, more comforting, more spiritually uplifting then a big bowl of hearty soup.

Now here's the sad part of my story. I have rarely been successful at soup-making. I can make all kinds of foods and make 'em delicious, but soups are the only things that have seemed to allude me. Whether I was burning the chicken soup because I hadn't yet mastered the concept of "simmering," or making vegetable soup that was mysteriously bitter because I'd failed to remove the seeds from the tomatoes, I seemed to have my biggest cooking disasters when I attempted soup.



But tonight, all that changed. I now have a new and improved outlook on my soup-cooking abilities. Earlier in the week, I felt a hankering to cook. More importantly, I felt a hankerin' to make a big pot of soup. I hunted through all of my food blogs and a bunch of recipe websites and couldn't come up with anything that appealed to me AND had ingredients I'd heard of. So I checked in with my Facebook peeps (because I'm hardcore like that) and asked for some suggestions. A bunch of people gave some fun suggestions, but one friend really came through linking me to this fantastic recipe for minestrone soup.

Let me start by saying that while I know that the length of the ingredients list seems intimidating, these ingredients are all very easy to find, and you probably have a bunch of them in your cabinets already. So trust me, it's worth the splurge! :)

The soup comes out amazing. I have to admit that I usually don't like minestrone soup. Let me rephrase: I dislike the only minestrone soup I'd had before tonight. That being the Tabatchnik's brand. I actually usually am a huge fan of Tabatchnik's soup, especially their Tuscany Lentil Soup (about which my husband and I have actually composed an entire song), but their minestrone never appealed to me. But even though I'd been hurt by minestrone in the past, there was something about this recipe that really spoke to me. And I'm glad it did. It has an incredible depth of flavors and it's hearty and perfectly everything a good soup should be. Please trust me. Make this soup!




Jamie's Minestrone Soup:

{NOTE: Comments in these squiggly brackets are mine.}

Ingredients:

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped {I used jarred}
  • 2 onions, chopped
  • 2 cups chopped celery {I decided to slice instead}
  • 5 carrots, sliced
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 2 cups water
  • 4 cups tomato sauce
  • 1/2 cup red wine (optional) {It says optional, but I STRONGLY recommend it. This adds SO MUCH to this soup. I used Kedem Red Cooking Wine.}
  • 1 cup canned kidney beans, drained
  • 1 (15 ounce) can green beans
  • 2 cups baby spinach, rinsed
  • 3 zucchinis, quartered and sliced
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano {I didn't have fresh oregano or basil, so I substituted dried and used a little less. Remember, fresh herbs take up more space than dried, so I used a little more than half a tablespoon.}
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup seashell pasta {You can use any kind of pasta. I used orzo}
  • 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese for topping {I nixed this. Alternatively, you could use pareve chicken flavored broth and include this. Up to you.}
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil


Directions:

  1. In a large stock pot, over medium-low heat, heat olive oil and saute garlic for 2 to 3 minutes. Add onion and saute for 4 to 5 minutes. Add celery and carrots, saute for 1 to 2 minutes.
  2. Add chicken broth, water and tomato sauce, bring to boil, stirring frequently. If desired add red wine at this point. Reduce heat to low and add kidney beans, green beans, spinach leaves, zucchini, oregano, basil, salt and pepper. Simmer for 30 to 40 minutes, the longer the better.
  3. Fill a medium saucepan with water and bring to a boil. Add macaroni and cook until tender. Drain water and set aside.
  4. Once pasta is cooked and soup is heated through place 2 tablespoons cooked pasta into individual serving bowls. Ladle soup on top of pasta and sprinkle Parmesan cheese on top. Spray with olive oil and serve.


Note: I served this with some pita from Pariser's Bakery and some chummus. I'd be willing to wager that this soup would also be great with a little beef in it.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Awesome Cheeseless Pizza

As promised, I return. I started out the night planning to make a minestrone soup that sounded amazing, but realized that since I have a paper due on Thursday it might not be the best idea to make something which requires so much prep work. So instead, I decided to make homemade pizza.



It all started out innocently enough. I whipped up the dough in a matter of minutes (recipe below), preheated my toaster oven and took some pictures.

Then, I rolled the dough out, placed it on a little baking sheet and put it in the toaster oven to prebake the crust a little to avoid sogginess. I start cleaning up and suddenly, my toaster oven breaks. It just shuts off and refuses to turn back on. Now, I don't have a milchig oven. My toaster oven (which was a wonderful wedding gift from my father's friend) was all I had for milchig baking. But I didn't have time to mourn that loss just then. I had pizza dough to save!

Now here I was, two small pizza crusts all set, and my only option was to make them pareve and bake them in my meat oven. So I combed my kitchen, foraged in the fridge, probed my pantry and finally came up with some reasonable ingredients. Now I just had to make them work.



I threw my pizzas together, stuck them in the oven and prayed they'd be good. Well, folks, I'm either a culinary genius or very very lucky. Maybe both. They were delicious. I'll admit to being a bit unprepared for my first bite. It didn't thrill me and I had to adjust to some of the flavors. But by the third bite, I was hooked. The crust was perfect! Crunchy on the bottom and soft and warm on the inside. The seasonings had been daring, but it made for a really interesting experience in the finished product. I'd definitely do it again, maybe with some lightly cooked spinach, fresh mushrooms and red pepper next time.

This is a quick, easy, yummy, and (dare I say it?) healthy dinner for two (or three if you want to be stingy with the dough).



Enjoy!

PS--The pizza dough recipe is not mine. A friend of mine shared it with me. She got it from recipezaar, but the link I have for it no longer works, so I can't give credit to the original person that made it. :(

Sara's Accidentally Cheeseless Pizza


Dough:

1 (1/4 ounce) package of yeast (2 and 1/4 teaspoons)
1 Cup warm water
2 1/2 Cups flour (I used bread flour, but the recipe doesn't specify, and I'm sure you could make this whole wheat)
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt

Topping:

Your favorite pizza sauce (mine happens to be Liebers)
small amount of green schug (Middle-eastern jalapeno sauce), to taste
garlic powder, to taste
onion powder, to taste
curry powder, to taste
turmeric to taste
1 small can of corn
1 small can of mushrooms (if you have fresh, use them! I hate canned mushrooms, but it's what I had on hand)
1 small onion, sliced into thin strips
2 cloves garlic, sliced thin (or crushed/minced/left off entirely if that's your preference. I would actually recommend sautéing them a little. I didn't, only because I was feeling lazy. I ended up picking most of the garlic off my pizza.)


Instructions:

1. Combine the yeast and warm water. Stir until dissolved.
2. Add olive oil
3. Combine dry ingredients. Add to liquids, mixing as you go, until it forms a cohesive dough ball (as pictured above. You may have to do some kneading by hand, but nothing too intense.)
{NOTE: When I made this, I found I had to add a tablespoon or two of water to the dough before I got the right texture. You don't want the dough to be especially sticky, but you also don't want it to be falling apart. It should be cohesive and easy to handle.}
4. Let the dough rest about 5 minutes. Take this time to start your oven preheating to 450 degrees fahrenheit.
5. Roll it out to the size/shape you want. I divided the dough in two and made two small pizzas with thick crusts. The dough could probably be divided in three or four but you'd either have smaller pizzas or thinner crusts.
6. Spread on sauce and schug. Season to taste with garlic powder, onion powder, curry powder and turmeric.
7. Smother the pizza with the rest of the toppings (and any additions of your choice. I was constrained to what I had on hand, but if you've got anything fresher/better, go for it.)
8. Bake at 450 for about 15 minutes.
9. Eat. Yum! :)

PS--It occurred to me after I made these that I actually had all of the ingredients on hand to make a pretty awesome Mexican pizza: Black beans, corn, mushrooms, onions, seasoning (like ground red pepper? Chili sauce? Cumin? Maybe some taco sauce mixed in with the pizza sauce?) and that would have at least added protein the meal. I'm sure I'll try it sometime. If you do first, let me know how it is. :)

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Dear Avid Fans...

Okay, I admit it! I'm a failure. I haven't cooked or baked anything even remotely interesting in over a month. I haven't taken any awesome pictures either. I've barely even had time to read my food blogs and pick out recipes.

I have some excuses, though! I've been busy. Really busy. So incredibly busy... playing video games...

But you can't blame me! I have the best husband in the world who got me a USB controller and downloaded and set up Super Nintendo emulators and ROMs on my computer. How could I not spend all of my free time playing Chrono Trigger, Breath of Fire, Super Mario and Yoshi's Island? I know, I know. You're not all nerds like me. Just trust me. There was no way around it.

I hope to start working on something new after the yom tovim...maybe after my sister's wedding in October?...maybe when the semester is over, k? Just bear with me. I'll be back eventually.

<3
Le` Bunny