Thursday, March 7, 2019

Settlers Eat: Avocado Smoked Salmon Toasts with Egg

Sometimes you just want breakfast for dinner.  Or lunch.  Or breakfast.  This is a great meal because it's perfect any time of day.  So flavorful!  So filling!  So easy!  I've also been trying to eat more fish, since fish can be bought sustainably and is healthy and also I just really like it.  I know that lox isn't the most innovative way to add more fish to my meals since all I did to this fish was take it out of the package, but it's so good!  And there's something to be said for meals that can be made in under ten minutes.

Start by toasting your bread.  I used 2 big slices of sourdough.
Next, smash 1 avocado onto the bread.
Cook up some scrambled eggs:  I did 3 large eggs seasoned with salt and pepper and cooked in 2 Tablespoons of butter over low heat until just set.  Those go on top of your smashy avocado.
Layer on 2 nice long slices of smoked salmon per toast.
Top with finely chopped red onion.


Settlers Eat: Chili Rice Noodles with Herbs and Fried Tofu

Oh hai.  You wanted a super fast, delicious meal?  Something savory and spicy to burn away the winter chill?  You love noodles (or, as my daughter calls them, nooooodes)?  Me too!  This is perfect.  Once you (get your husband to) fry the tofu, this complete dish comes together in about six minutes.  And man, is it good.  Try it!

Press your tofu, and then cut it into 1 inch cubes.  Fry the cubes in 2 batches in 2 Tablespoons of hot vegetable oil; when the tofu releases gently from the pan, turn it to fry the other side.  Drain on paper towels and sprinkle with salt.

Mince 5 cloves of garlic and a 2 inch piece of ginger.
Clean, remove the stems, and chop 1 bunch of fresh cilantro and 1 bunch of fresh basil.
Chop 3 scallions.

Put on a large pot of salted water to boil and cook rice vermicelli for three minutes, until al dente.

In a large, deep pan, heat 2 Tablespoons vegetable oil and 5 Tablespoons sesame oil.  Add the garlic and ginger, along with 1 Tablespoon of crushed red pepper flakes, to the pan.  Cook for 2 minutes, and then add 5 Tablespoons Chinese chili oil and 6 Tablespoons soy sauce.  Cook for 1 more minute, then remove from heat.

In a large serving bowl, toss together the noodles, sauce, herbs, scallions, and tofu.

Chili Rice Noodles with Herbs and Fried Tofu Ingredients:

1 block extra firm tofu
4 Tablespoons vegetable oil, divided
1 bunch cilantro
1 bunch basil
3 scallions
1 package rice vermicelli 
5 cloves garlic
2 inch piece of ginger
5 Tablespoons sesame oil
1 Tablespoon crushed red pepper
5 Tablespoons Chinese Chili Oil
6 Tablespoons soy sauce

Sunday, February 24, 2019

Settlers Eat: Steak Tips

This is the last of the #pantrychallenge meals!  I got the potatoes out of our root vegetable box in the pantry, and the steak tips out of the freezer.  All the ingredients for the marinade were things we had in the cupboards.  And the marinade really is the star of this show.  It's the thing worth writing about.  And it's delicious and easy.  It helps the meat stay tender and flavorful and it helps develop a great sear on each piece.  Note: my daughter took the pictures of the plates here.  She loved these steak tips, and when I saw her plate I said, "you know there's plenty!  You can have more than three little pieces."  She said, "I know, Mom!  But first I have to take a picture so it looks fancy!"  

Place 1 1/2 pounds of tip steak, but into 1 inch pieces, in a gallon Ziplock.
To the bag, add 1/4 cup molasses, 1 Tablespoon Worcestershire sauce, 1 Tablespoon apple cider vinegar, 1 teaspoon smoked paprika, 2 teaspoons kosher salt, 2 whole cloves of garlic that have been  peeled and smooshed, and some freshly ground pepper.
Massage the marinade into the meat by manipulating the outside of the bag.
Let the beef sit in the marinade for at least one hour.

When you're ready to cook the beef, remove it from the marinade and pat it dry
between two layers of paper towels.

Get a cast iron skillet very very hot.
Add 1 Tablespoon of vegetable oil.
Then, add the meat.  Do not crowd the pan.
Let sear for 4 minutes on the first side, then flip.
Let sear for between 3-6 minutes on the second side, depending on how you like your steak cooked.

Serve with mashed potatoes and oven-roasted asparagus!


Steak Tip Ingredients:

1 1/2 lb tip steak
2-4 Tablespoons vegetable oil
1/4 cup molasses
1 Tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 Tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
2 teaspoons kosher salt
2 whole cloves of garlic
freshly ground pepper.

Thursday, February 21, 2019

Pantry Challenge: Week Four

It's the final week of the #pantrychallenge!  I'll post some pictures of my newly denuded pantry and freezer soon, though, to be honest, I'm not sure I made as much of a dent as I meant to.  I did save a bunch of money, though, and learn some things.  Among the things I learned is that my schedule has a bit more flexibility in it than it did when I started this blog.  What that means is that some recipes I intended to make never got done.  When that happened, I put them on the next week's menu, which has also been a good learning experience for me.  It has shown me that in the past, if I moved something around (maybe because it's my daughter's favorite meal, and she wasn't going to be home the night I planned to cook it), I sometimes ended up forgetting to make it for weeks.  It's also shown me that it's time to end the #pantrychallenge, because we're getting down to stuff that isn't as interesting to me: hearts of palm salad and apple pancakes again, anyone?  In any case, this was super fun.  It cleaned out some staples that needed to be used, helped me think creatively, and produced some excellent meals.  My favorites so far have been the pan-fired halloumi with farro and blackened scallions and the mustard-crusted pork chop.  Those will definitely reappear around here.   For this menu, I'm particularly excited to make the steak tips, which are a favorite of my daughter.  I'll post the recipe I use for those soon.

Week #4:

Monday:  vegetable stir fry with rice and water chestnuts
Tuesday: pancakes with apples and bacon
Wednesday: eggs and biscuits
Thursday:  steak tips with asparagus and mushrooms
Friday:  OUT
Saturday:  hearts of palm salad with avocado
Sunday:  polenta with tomato sauce, parmesan, spinach and zucchini

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Bodies are Wild, Man

Okay, okay.  We did lots of actually fun things this weekend:  went to the Ansel Adams exhibit at the Museum of Fine Arts, watched Blackkklansman, went hiking in the Blue Hills, baked cookies.

But we also made a bet.  And the bet was this:  that my husband could wear my pants.

My husband is a literal foot taller than me.  And he's gotta have something like fifty pounds on me too.  But even though he's six-foot-one and I'm five-foot-one, I have noticed that his legs are the same length as mine.  There are only two possible conclusions.  Either my legs are hella long, or his are incredibly short.  Just kidding, there is a third conclusion: bodies do all kinds of things and look all kinds of ways!  So I bet him a one-dollar scratchy that he could get into my pants and button them up.  He graciously accepted the challenge.

I am sharing these photos because they're hilarious.  But also because I mean it when I say that bodies are wild.  They're diverse and interesting and beautiful and funny, and you should celebrate yours.

This is me, wearing pants.

And this is my giant husband, wearing the exact same pants.
He's a handsome fella, isn't he?

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Settlers Eat: Farro and Adzuki Bean Bowls

This is a perfect #pantrychallenge meal because it uses dried farro and canned adzuki beans.   I was inspired by this Healthy-ish recipe posted on Love and Lemons.  I swapped the brown rice for farro, partially because it cooks faster, and partially because I just like the texture and flavor a lot more.  I also changed up the method a bit and subbed a few ingredients.  But I'm grateful for the inspiration!  I'm not sure why I initially bought all these canned adzuki beans, but I know this was a good way to finally use them up.  Also, the only way I could figure out how to do this recipe was to accidentally make enough for four to six people, so this is great for a family or when you have some friends or passing randos over.  Enjoy!

Start by putting on a large pot of salted water to boil for your farro.
We're going to cook the farro using the pasta method, which always works best.
Once the water is boiling, add your farro, and simply let boil until the farro has the consistency you like.  For me, that usually happens just before the 20 minute mark.  Once your farro is tender, drain it through a fine mesh sieve.  It's done, and it's delicious. 

Meanwhile, make your dressing.
Whisk together 1 Tablespoon red miso, 1/4 cup olive oil, 2 Tablespoons toasted sesame oil, 2 Tablespoons rice wine vinegar, and 2 Tablespoons soy sauce.  Add 1 diced red chili.
Adjust seasoning to taste.

Shred 1 small Nappa cabbage and add to a large bowl.
Clean de-stem 1 bunch of fresh cilantro; add the leaves to the bowl.
Peel 2 large carrots, then shred or ribbon them.  Add to bowl.
Pour 3/4 of the dressing over the cabbage mixture and toss to combine.

Drain your adzuki beans and set aside.

Ribbon 2 zucchinis.

Place a heaping ladle-full of farro in the bottom of each individual bowl.
Add adzuki beans, cabbage mixture, and zucchini.
Drizzle with additional dressing.


 Farro and Adzuki Bean Bowls Ingredients:

12 ounces farro
1 small Nappa cabbage
1 14 ounce can adzuki beans
2 large carrots
2 zucchini

For the Dressing: 

1 Tablespoon red miso
1/4 cup olive oil
2 Tablespoons toasted sesame oil
2 Tablespoons rice wine vinegar
2 Tablespoons soy sauce
1 diced red chili.

Monday, February 18, 2019

Settlers Eat: Cauliflower and Broccoli Rigatoni

This recipe is simple, and very very good.  It's vegan and costs almost nothing to make, too.  I will admit that it does not contain a major protein.   When I teach people the simplest way to cook and eat healthfully, I always recommend that each meal contain a protein, a carb, and a green vegetable.  That's still my best advice.  However, the truth is that most Americans get more than enough protein.  Unless you are suffering from malnutrition or are a body builder, it's okay to eat a meal with less protein, and in fact, plant-based proteins can be really great.  Broccoli has a decent amount of protein, as well as iron and lots of vitamins.  And despite what you may have heard about carbohydrates and vegetables, this meal is really filling.  It tastes great too.  So while I wouldn't recommend that you eat like this every night (though it better than the way many Americans eat daily), I would recommend that you cook this on a weeknight.  We enjoyed it very much!

Start by putting a large pot of heavily salted water on to boil for your pasta.
Continue by chopping 1 head of cauliflower and 1 head of broccoli into florets.
Roughly chop 4 cloves of garlic.  Set aside.

Heat 3 Tablespoons of olive oil in a large, deep pot over medium-high heat.
Add the cauliflower and cook until browned, about 7 minutes.

When your water has boiled, drop your pasta and cook until just al dente, about 8 minutes.
Drain your pasta, reserving 1/2 cup of pasta water.

Add the broccoli and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 more minutes.
Then, add the garlic.   Cook, stirring occasionally, for 3 more minutes.

Add 1/2 a cup of  pasta water to the pot.
Continue to cook until all water is evaporated, about 10 minutes.

Add 1 teaspoon of red pepper flakes, salt and pepper, and cook for 3 more minutes.

Add the pasta to the cooked vegetable mix and stir well to combine.
Drizzle with 1/4 cup more olive oil.


Cauliflower and Broccoli Rigatoni Ingredients:

1 lb rigatoni pasta
1 head cauliflower
1 head broccoli
4 cloves garlic
3 Tablespoons + 1/4 cup olive oil, divided
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
salt and pepper