Several of my coworkers are taking the “Engine 2 Challenge,” which involves following a plant-based, basically vegan diet for a month. I’ve been trying several of the recipes (when someone at work makes them) and so far I’ve had a great vegan chili and an equally great vegan sloppy joe (both were heavy on lentils). Someone suggested I try the Macaroni NOT Cheese, since regular mac is a favorite of mine. Below is the recipe from the Engine 2 Site, with my notations.
1 onion, chopped
1 cup cashews
1/3 cup lemon juice
1 1/3 cups water
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
4 ounce jar roasted red peppers, drained
3 tablespoons nutritional yeast (THIS IS IN THE BAKING AISLE AND COSTS $6)
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
16 ounces whole grain elbow pasta, cooked
Sauté onion on medium heat in non-stick skillet with a little water or low sodium vegetable broth for 5 minutes, until translucent.
In a food processor, combine the onions, cashews, lemon juice, water, and salt. Gradually blend in roasted red peppers, nutritional yeast, garlic powder, and onion powder.
Thoroughly toss the sauce with the pasta.
Bake in the oven for 20 minutes until golden brown on top.
(THROW DIRECTLY IN THE TRASH. THE END.)
I’m pulling out all the stops for this year’s Annual Weight Loss Month Or So. (See all my gluten free entries for the theme of last year’s Annual Weight Loss Month Or So.) This year I’m using my new FitBit Force (thanks mom!) in conjunction with the Lose It! App I’ve been using for the past year minus the last few months. I’m going gluten-reduced, and focusing on increasing any possible daily activity (hence the fitbit) and eating lots of greens and low fat protein. Oh, and as much hot yoga as I can get to, because I love it. (Insert shameless plug for CorePower Yoga here.) This chili has approximately 200 calories per 1 cup serving (not including toppings), is easy to make, and filling. Plus, beans are good for you.
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 carrots, chopped
1 yellow onion, chopped
1 red or green pepper, chopped
2 teaspoons ground cumin or latin spice blend (available in most grocery stores, try Whole Foods)
1 pound ground turkey (leanest you can find)
1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
2 cups water
1 chipotle chile in adobo sauce (seeded and chopped)
juice from 2 limes
Salt and black pepper
1 can black beans and 1 can kidney beans (or whatever combination of beans you like), drained
Avocado, chopped (or guacamole)
Cheddar cheese, shredded
Non fat greek yogurt or sour cream
Put the onion, pepper, and carrots in a large pot with the oil, cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are soft. Add the spice mix or cumin and stir until incorporated. Add the turkey, raise the heat and cook until meat is no longer pink. Add tomatoes, lime juice, water, chipotle, and salt. Cover and simmer at least 30 minutes. Add beans and cook, partially covered, at least 10 minutes longer.This can be eaten immediately but is best when left on low heat for a few hours. Season to taste before serving with more salt, pepper, or lime juice.
It’s my birthday. Here are some things:
After 34 years I’ve finally realized that new year’s resolutions are no good for me because a) my resolutions usually involve eating less cake but my birthday is less than a month away and necessitates cake and b) January kind of sucks and I just want to eat meatballs and wear fat sweaters.
I periodically find gray hair now, and I. Hate. It.
I feel 10 years older, thank you very much, but in a good way.
Last year I learned how to get married, and not just in the “what color flowers for the bouquet” way. The cat and I learned how to live in a tiny space with a wonderful man and his wonderful dog. Hopefully this year I’ll learn how to buy a house with said man and dog. I learned how to build a team from scratch and to open a business with that team, and to work harder than I ever have. I learned how to do yoga in a very hot room. I learned that I miss writing on a regular basis, and that I need to get back to this blog. I learned, again and again, how awesome and supportive my friends and family are.
And I got to wear a fabulous, fabulous dress.
It was a good year.
These are really good, and a lot healthier than regular potato pancakes with sour cream. The original recipe comes from Whole Foods Market, and you can see below for the ways I messed it up the first time, and then the tweaks I made to the original recipe and cooking method, and the addition of Green Goddess Dressing.
3/4 teaspoon chili powder
2 (8-ounce) russet potatoes, peeled, shredded and squeezed of excess moisture (SQUEEZED WITH A PAPER TOWEL. MESSY. USE REGULAR TOWEL.)
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 parsnips, shredded
1 large egg, lightly beaten (DID NOT BEAT)
2 carrots, shredded
1 teaspoon fine sea salt (USED WHATEVER SALT I HAD)
1/2 cup finely diced red onion (ONLY HAD YELLOW ONION)
1/8 teaspoon grated nutmeg (WAS OUT OF NUTMEG AND DIDN’T WANT TO BUY MORE FOR LIKE, TWO DASHES OF NUTMEG.)
1/4 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1 large egg white, lightly beaten (WHAT? NO.)
Melt butter in a small saucepan over medium-low heat, until it begins to sputter and is covered with a layer of foam, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from heat and wait until sputtering stops. Skim off and discard foam; pour clarified butter into a small bowl, leaving behind any milky liquid. (THIS SEEMED LIKE A STUPID EXTRA STEP. JUST MELTED SOME BUTTER.)
In a large bowl, combine the vegetables and onion. Sprinkle with flour, salt, chili powder and nutmeg, and toss to coat. Stir in egg and egg white. (I JUST USED TWO EGGS AND MASHED EVERYTHING TOGETHER WITH MY HANDS.)
Brush a large skillet with clarified butter and line just the bottom with parchment paper. (PAIN IN THE ASS.) Brush the paper and sides of the skillet generously with 1 tablespoon more clarified butter. Heat the skillet over medium heat until hot. Pour in vegetable mixture and press gently. Cook, running a spatula around the edges of the skillet occasionally, until bottom is very brown, about 12 minutes. (BOTTOM WASN’T GETTING BROWN, GOT IMPATIENT*. TURNED UP HEAT.) *THE START OF ALL PROBLEMS, ALWAYS.
Place a round platter upside down over the top of the skillet. Grasp sides of the skillet and platter with oven mitts and invert pancake onto the platter. (THIS SEEMED LIKE A LOT OF ACROBATICS. BUT I DID IT!) Press back in any stuck bits of pancake. (PLENTY OF STUCK BITS) Wipe the skillet clean, place parchment back in the skillet and brush generously with clarified butter. Slide pancake back into the skillet (browned-side up) and continue to cook over medium heat, loosening edges with a spatula and shaking the pan occasionally to loosen the bottom. (STARTING TO SMELL SOMETHING BURNING, BUT PANCAKE LOOKED OK.) Cook until bottom is browned and crisp and pancake is cooked through, about 12 more minutes. (AT ABOUT 10 MINUTES REALIZED PARCHMENT PAPER WAS ON FIRE. HAD TO REMOVE) Invert the skillet again to remove pancake. Cool 5 minutes before cutting into wedges. (PANCAKE WAS MORE OF A HASH AT THE END, AND A LITTLE CHARRED. BUT STILL GOOD.)
MY EASIER, LESS HEALTHY, PARCHMENT PAPER FREE VERSION:
1 red onion, sliced
2 parsnips, peeled and grated
2 carrots, peeled and grated
2 russet potatoes, peeled and grated, squeezed and drained of excess liquid
2 scallions, diced
1/4 cup parsley, chopped
1 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1 cup flour
1 stick butter
Add all ingredients except for butter to a bowl, mix with your hands until eggs and flour are incorporated. Heat a non-stick skillet on medium and add 1/4 stick of butter. Drop mixture by heaping spoonfuls (you can make these as big or as small as you want, depends on how long you want to spend cooking) into skillet, and cook over medium heat until both sides are browned (at least 5 minutes per side, depends on how big you make them). Press frequently with spatula to keep them in pancake form, but if these fall apart you can just cook them into a hash and they are just as tasty. Let skillet cool between batches and add more butter before each batch. Top with Green Goddess Dressing, recipe follows.
Green Goddess Dressing:
2 cups 0% (fat free) greek yogurt
juice of one lime
juice of 1/2 lemon
salt and pepper
4 gloves garlic
at least 1 cup chopped basil, have two cups available so you can adjust if it is not basil-y enough
Throw everything in a blender and puree. Add more basil if you want. Puree again. The end. This should last 4-5 days in the fridge.
Dinosaur BBQ is now a chain with 7 locations, but back in the day the original, in Syracuse, NY, was not the place you’d take your wife for dinner before a weekend with her friends and their babies. In the last ten years it has gone from biker bar to group hang out spot, but the decor is still pretty honky tonk, with license plates and signs that read “temperance ignored here” on the walls.
The food is quick and rich – brisket, pulled pork, ribs, fried green tomatoes, deviled eggs, cornbread. I had brisket and pulled pork with a side of mac and cheese and coleslaw, and while it was all good, I particularly enjoyed the brisket- tender without being fatty – and the mac and cheese. Most BBQ joint mac is dry and tasteless, but this is something you want a full bowl of. Judging by the amount of hits you get by googling “Dinosaur BBQ mac and cheese recipe,” it looks like many have tried to imitate it, and for good reason.
If you’re driving through Syracuse, this is a must stop destination. Otherwise, you might want to try the Harlem or Brooklyn locations.
One of my husband’s favorite desserts is lemon meringue pie, so this Thanksgiving I set out to make one. I immediately jinxed myself by remarking that the recipe didn’t seem too complicated, and in true form, ruined the pie completely. Now I’m going on a quest to find an error-proof lemon meringue pie to redeem myself, but for now, here’s all the ways I messed up Alton’s Brown recipe:
- 4 egg yolks (reserve whites for meringue)
- 1/3 cup cornstarch
- 1 1/2 cups water
- 1 1/3 cups sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 1/2 cup lemon juice (USED JARRED LEMON JUICE)
- 1 tablespoon finely grated lemon zest
- 1 (9-inch) pre-baked pie shell (THOUGHT PIE SHELL WAS PRE-BAKED. WAS NOT.)
- 1 recipe Meringue, recipe follows
Adjust the oven rack to the middle position. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Whisk egg yolks in medium size mixing bowl and set aside. In a medium saucepan, combine cornstarch, water, sugar, and salt. Whisk to combine. Turn heat on medium and, stirring frequently, bring mixture to a boil. Boil for 1 minute. Remove from heat and gradually, 1 whisk-full at a time, add hot mixture to egg yolks and stir until you have added at least half of the mixture. (NOT SURE WHAT I DID WRONG HERE, BUT EVENTUAL PIE WAS TOO SOUR AND FILLING WAS NOT THICK ENOUGH. IF I HAD TO GUESS, SHOULD HAVE USED JUICE FROM ACTUAL LEMON AND MORE CORNSTARCH.)
Return egg mixture to saucepan, turn heat down to low and cook, stirring constantly, for 1 more minute. Remove from heat and gently stir in butter, lemon juice, and zest until well combined. Pour mixture into pie shell (AGAIN, THOUGHT SHELL WAS PRE-BAKED. WAS NOT. PUT FILLING INTO RAW SHELL.) and top with meringue while filling is still hot. Make sure meringue completely covers filling and that it goes right up to the edge of the crust. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes or until meringue is golden. ( MOTHER SABOTAGED PIE. SHUT OVEN OFF JUST AS I PUT PIE IN.) Remove from oven and cool on a wire rack. Make sure pie is cooled completely before slicing.
- 4 egg whites
- 1 pinch cream of tartar
- 2 tablespoons sugar
Place egg whites and cream of tartar in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Beat egg whites until soft peaks form and then gradually add sugar and continue beating until stiff peaks form, approximately 1 to 2 minutes. Use to top lemon filling. (MERINGUE WAS REALLY EASY TO MAKE! BUT, DID NOT MATTER AS ONCE PIE COOLED THE UNBAKED CRUST MADE IT COMPLETELY DISGUSTING.)
Don’t worry Dave, I’ll get this right eventually. I’ll start by baking the crust.
This year, Dave and I went to Toronto on our mini-moon, not realizing that the day after our wedding was Canadian Thanksgiving, eh. Fortunately Canada doesn’t shut down the way we do, and we enjoyed feast after feast. In particular, we asked a local chef where to grab breakfast. He gave the perfect answer: “You go to St. Lawrence Market, you get a plain peameal bacon sandwich. No egg, no tomato- you can get an egg sandwich anywhere. Peameal Bacon Sandwich.” Peameal bacon is sort of like our version of “Canadian” bacon, only so much better. Dusted in cornmeal, it is tender and juicy. The sandwich itself made me want a nap afterward, but well worth it.
This year on Thanksgiving, I am thankful for my new husband, my family and friends, my health, and all future opportunities to discover new, delicious things.