Sunday, May 01, 2011

major kitchen action

I have eluded to the overly-busy schedule I have been keeping up with these past few weeks, and coupled with plenty of stress, let's just say I haven't been feeding myself as well as I could have been; too much eating out for me! I was long overdue for a weekend full of cooking, and boy, was it fun!

Here are the results of all that action in my kitchen . . .

I haven't had much dessert on hand at home or at work, and I was craving something warm, homey, and tart-sweet. Enter, rhubarb-peach crumble:

Although peach is a nontraditional partner for rhubarb, this is quite good! I should have added a little more extra sugar to the fruit, since it is still VERY tart, but I love the contrast with the sweet-crispy-toasty topping. It's always a bonus when I can clear TWO bags of frozen fruit out of my freezer, and get a dessert out of the deal, too!

At the time of purchase, I had no plan for the parsnips I picked up at the Farmer's Market on Saturday morning. The more I thought about those parsnips, the more Shredded Parsnip and Beet Salad in Pineapple Vinaigrette, from VCON, stuck in my mind -- and I figured, I better oblige!

The first time I made this recipe, I found it called for WAY too much dressing. I cut the dressing recipe in half this time, and am much happier with my salad. It's less soup-like, more slaw-like!

I should try this recipe with orange juice instead of the pineapple juice sometime. I always seem to have OJ on hand, but have to slap down four bucks to purchase the pineapple juice for this recipe. Anyone out there ever subbed OJ with good results? Do tell!

Lately, I have been mildly obsessed with the blog Anja's Food 4 Thought. Her writing is clear and concise, her photos are breathtaking, and her style of cooking seems perfectly aligned with my own. (Plus, she seems to be as obsessed with baked goods as I!) Even though I'm super anxious to try her Almond Butter Granola Bars, I found myself whipping up Herbed Chickpea Pancakes for dinner last night:

OK, someone please help me figure out WHY I have never made savory chickpea pancakes before? They are dead easy, super-cheap, and SOOOOOOO good -- I especially love the herbed yogurt recipe she includes. It took me a couple of tries to find my mojo with this recipe, learning that I needed to use a little more oil and a little higher heat than I thought, and I just couldn't help but flip them, even though she calls for them to be cooked on only one side. Since I destroyed most of my first batch on the learning curve, I sort of HAD to make a second batch for dinner tonight, right? At least now I have leftovers for lunches this week! MMMMMMMMMMMMM.

To continue on my quest to return to eating a more colorful, produce-rich diet, I tossed together a simple roasted red pepper soup for lunch today:

I really should have written down at least the measurements for ingredients, because I may never be able to replicate this one! (Lunch was a long time ago, you see.) Hmm . . . here's what I think I did:

1. Saute about 3/4 cup finely chopped onion in olive oil
2. Add 1 1/2 cups roughly chopped roasted red bell peppers, (I bought the hugest jar at Costco not too long ago, so I didn't feel bad about blowing through an expensive ingredient on this soup,) 3 cups vegetable broth, 1 tsp agave nectar, and salt (about 1/2 tsp?) and pepper to the pot. Bring to a boil.
3. Lower the heat and simmer the soup for 10 minutes, or longer, if you are busy doing something else.
4. Add 1 cup Greek yogurt to the pan, and puree. Garnish with any fresh herb you like -- I'm on a chive kick this week, so that's what I used. Simple and delicious!

Alongside my soup, I had a couple of tiny quesadillas:

I slathered homemade corn tortillas (!) with homemade refried beans (!) and queso fresco, and fried 'em up in my cast iron until crispy. It's been ages since I've made tortillas, and I forgot how EASY they are to whip up -- and how vastly superior their flavor and texture is to storebought corn tortillas! Homemade tortillas actually taste like CORN, not like dry paste. :) I used four for my quesadillas this afternoon, and stuck the other four in the freezer, to be enjoyed at a later date.

And last but not least, after a long, cold walk around the neighborhood I want to move to this summer, I felt like baking again! So, now I have a lovely batch of Tuscan Lemon Muffins for breakfasts and snacks this week:

I haven't tried these guys yet, but if the baked version is as good as the dollop of batter I licked off the spatula earlier, they will be a HIT! I made a few changes to the original recipe, as ever: I subbed Greek yogurt for the ricotta, omitted the lemon juice (figured the yogurt would provide enough acidity,) added 1 tsp lemon extract (to make up for the missing lemon juice,) and used 1 cup AP flour plus 3/4 cup whole-wheat pastry flour, instead of all AP flour. I really wanted to use all whole-wheat flour, but lemon is such a delicate flavor, I was afraid it would get lost in the whole grainy goodness . . . this split seems to work well. I ended up with 8 standard-sized muffins and a dozen minis for the kids, too! (I thought I'd shower them with treats this week, since it's my last as their teacher.)

Hope your weekend was filled with good food, too!

1 comment:

Michelle {lively kitchen} said...

Lady - you've been busy! What a wonderful bounty coming from your kitchen. Nice work.

I'm off to check out the chickpea pancakes. I've been on a serious chickpea kick lately.