Winter Kale Panzanella

January 31, 2018

Hey, remember the drop biscuits from my last post?  They make another appearance here, as the croutons in this “panzanella.” Now, I thought I was being brilliantly lazy, but it turns out biscuit croutons are totally a thing.  So awesome, I’m not the only person who feels this way!

This may be the most hippie/hipster thing I’ve ever posted, but you know what, I’m not even upset.  I happen to really enjoy eating kale, and raw massaged kale is … I dunno folks, it’s pretty amazing stuff.  But I am totally not offended if you disagree with my love of kale.  If you don’t like it that’s more for me!

As always, feel free to customize your salad.  Kale salads AND panzanella salads are both salads that can have nearly endless variety to them, so feel free to play! I’ll be talking about what you see in the photo, but seriously, you do you. (more…)

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Ultimate Comfort Food: Chicken Pot Pie

January 29, 2018

One of the things I really enjoy about chicken pot pie is how incredibly versatile it is.  Two crusts? Awesome.  Just the top crust? Great.  Pie crust or puff pastry? You decide! Biscuits instead of crust?  Bring it on! Change up the filling?  Sure, go for it.  It means that you pretty much can’t lose, as long as you’ve got something warm and gooey and a little bit bread-y in front of you.  I’ve been favoring the biscuit-topped pot pies myself – mainly because I can’t be bothered to deal with rolling out pie or pastry crust.  I’m not good at making crusts to begin with, and the patchwork job that would ensue would basically ruin my day.  Drop biscuits, on the other hand – are delightfully simple. And hey, you know what? If you’d rather use a box mix or those canned biscuits or premade pie crusts? Do it! The end goal is not something painstakingly homemade (though by all means, do the work if you really want to) — the goal is to have a chicken-y, gravy-loaded pile of love with some sort of carb-y topping, to shovel into your face.  Do it however it feels right to you.  Heck, buy an entirely premade frozen pot pie, for all I care.  Basically, I support pot pie in all forms. (more…)

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Taquitos!

January 13, 2018

Okay, I’ll admit, I love the crappy taquitos you can get in the freezer section at the supermarket.  I mean, half the time, they’re just vehicle for sour cream or guacamole anyway right?  I can’t be the only one on this.  But it is also pretty rewarding to make them from scratch and serve them at a house dinner.  Or maybe that’s just me.  Anyway, I more or less improv-ed my way through this whole process, cobbling together things I’ve learned and/or intuited over the past [coughmumble] years.  Anyway, let’s get rollin’!

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Leftover Rice? Time for Rice Pudding!

January 5, 2018

Okay, so it’s not the prettiest looking thing ever. But it’s warm and creamy and oh so easy. Like, really really easy.

So, somehow, between my dinners and other residents cooking for themselves while I was off-duty, we ended up with three separate containers (large ones) of leftover rice.  And it’s been cold, so I’ve been wanting comfort food.  Hence – this pile of sweet goo.

But like… I mean, I can’t even really give you a recipe because it’s so simple.  I mean, I can try… but really, just throw things on to simmer and do what feels right.

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Roasted Tomato and Fennel Soup (and an update on Life)

December 27, 2017

Okay, so… it was never a secret that I’m not great at remembering quantities of things when I’m fiddling with a recipe =)  I prefer to just… trust my instincts, as it were.  Which of course, can be problematic.  I know plenty of people who are exact-followers-of-recipes.  And that’s fine! It’s just.. y’know, not how I cook.  Especially not now, because… (life update)

I now live in an amazing co-op where I’m the resident chef for 20ish people.  So that’s super great and it’s pretty much my dream job and dream life.  But that means I follow quantities on recipes even less than I did before… AND, since I’m not paying attention to numbers in the first place, giving said amounts in a recipe is… well, it’s certainly not impossible, but it’s a bit difficult for me. =)

So… I guess from here on out – we’re all going to have to trust our guts, as it were.  Start with a little of [whatever it is] and go from there. As one of my favorite chef instructors used to say, you can always add more – but taking it out is a whole lot harder.

So this is just… I mean, there’s probably a billion and one recipes for tomato soup out there, right? It’s such a classic comfort food.  Paired with a grilled cheese sandwich or simply warm bread for dipping – I mean, how can you go wrong? (more…)

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Creamy Potato and Braised Kale Soup

March 17, 2017

So today is St. Patrick’s Day, and between several events and promotions at work, I managed to find myself heartily sick of corned beef (I know, I was shocked too).  I still wanted, however, to have a sort of thematically appropriate dinner – well, and I felt like I hadn’t been fun and creative in a while.

I’d also been vaguely craving a good creamy potato soup since last weekend, when I had the potato soup at a local eatery and was rather disappointed to find it was literally chunks of potato in broth.  I mean, it was tasty, but just… not what I wanted, texturally.

I really like how this soup came out – the flavors are very rich, and there’s a lovely little zing from the kale, which was braised quickly in some red wine vinegar.  This can also be easily adapted to be vegetarian or vegan – just sub out the meaty/creamy things! (I’ll offer options in the ingredients)

Okay? Here we go! (more…)

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Coronation Chicken Salad – Vickie’s Variations

March 14, 2017

All right, so let’s talk about Coronation Chicken Salad. It was developed by a couple of Cordon Bleu VIPs, for the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II in 1953 (source: wikipedia)

Basically it’s a chicken salad with curry powder added.  But as with most protein salads (or pretty much anything you can find a recipe for) there’s plenty of variations and tweaks to be found on the great wide web. What I love about it is the little hint of sweetness that it gets from the dried fruit – classically sultanas which I think are larger, golden raisins, but you can use dark raisins, dried dates, dried currants, whatever you like. (more…)

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Red Beans Jambalaya (Vegetarian)

February 27, 2017

Mardi Gras is tomorrow, but since I have rehearsal tomorrow, I figured I would celebrate tonight.  I’ve been eating a bit too much nasty junk food lately, so I was kind of aiming for somewhere between red beans and rice, and jambalaya.  This is packed full of veggies, and can be completely vegan.  And it’s super filling.  So, I’ll count this as a win. (by the way, this recipe makes SIX portions, so plan/adjust accordingly if you hate leftovers.) (more…)

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Cardamom and Cocoa? Absolutely!

February 9, 2017

So, say you’ve just been outside shovelling after a snowstorm.  Amongst my friends, the proper reward for such toils is a nice hot mug of cocoa.  So when my roommates and I got back in from an epic shovelling attack tonight, I went straight for the cupboard.

Here’s the thing though – I’m pretty sure I am actually incapable of following the directions on those canisters of cocoa mix.  And I’m totally okay with that.

What I do is: (more…)

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My Standard Weekend Breakfast (Lately)

January 28, 2017

Hi, yes, I know, I’ve been in hiding for a bit.  Life, busy, etc etc.

Anyway.

So for the past – oh gosh, at least year or so, I’ve found that my weekend breakfast has remained pretty constant – and it’s a treat for me, both to make and consume.  So I figured I’d share.  But of course, since I’m generally puttering around making my breakfast before I’ve had coffee (and at this point it’s purely muscle memory) … I don’t measure anything.  …Oops.

But anyway, this is quick and easy, and I love it, so I’m going to share it. (more…)

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