Monday, May 21, 2007

BLT and Creamy Pearl Onions

Edit: This is a guest post by my friend E

First off, did you know that you can buy frozen pearl onions? It's greatness! No pealing, no nothing. So, get a package of those. Boil them on the stove as you would any frozen vegetable, drain and keep warm. Then, in another pan, melt a tbsp of butter and add an equal amount of flour. Blend with a whisk and then add in half and half or milk. Keep it cooking until it's thick, add a little pepper and put in the onions.

While the onions are still boiling, throw some bacon in a skillet and cook it. If you don't know how to do this, I'm sad for you. Also, while you were at the grocery store getting the pearl onions, you should have picked up some fun bread. I can't remember the type that's in the picture, but at the moment, I love ciabatta. Also make sure you've got mayo and some kind of green lettuce-y thing. Oh, and I skip the tomatoes.

Put the sandwich together and throw the onions on the side and you're good to go! By the way, you'll have terrible onion breath, but it's worth it.

Roasted Veggie Quesedillia

Edit: This is a guest post by my friend E

So, I took this from a recipe again in the Costco book. Basically, just throw chopped zucchini, carrots, squash, and bell pepper into a pan with some olive oil, garlic, orange juice, basil and thyme. Toss it all together so it's nicely coated. Then, stick it in the oven at 350 degrees for 20 minutes or so. I generally do this a day before so that I can just refrigerate it and cut it up the next day.

So, say it's the next day. Chop up the veggies, shred some cheddar and pepper jack cheese and put a little of everything between two tortillas in a skillet. I suggest folding the tortilla in half and doing half a quesedilla at a time because this one is really sloppy. Whatever you choose, cook it up just like any regular quesedilla. Serve it with some hot sauce. And, you'll probably need a fork.

Asparagus and Mushrooms

Edit: This is a guest post by my friend E

Another super easy, super quick one. This one is really a 10 minute meal. So, chop up some asparagus and throw it into a skillet with some non-stick cooking spray or olive oil for just a few minutes. Then throw in the mushrooms for a minute or two. The last step requires a little mixing. Combine 1/3 cup of water, 1 tsp cornstarch, 1/2 tsp chicken bouillon granules, and 1/4 tsp dried thyme. Once the asparagus and mushroom are done stir frying, throw this mixture in the pan and stir it all up for about 2 minutes.

This dish is ridiculously low in calories, so I'd suggest doing some rice or noodles with it to fill you up.

Cheddar Risotto

Edit: This is a guest post by my friend E

This recipe rocks! It's from a Costco cookbook, so scale the measurements down a bit. Here we go:

4 tbsp butter

1 cup chopped yellow onions

2 cups Arborio rice (I use Jasmine)

5 cups hot tap water

1 chicken bullion cube

1/2 tsp kosher salt

1/8 tsp nutmeg

2 cups shredded cheddar cheese

4-6 cups lightly packed fresh spinach, chopped.

Ok, so that sounds like a lot, but I promise it only takes 20 minutes to make. So here's what you do:

1. Melt the butter in a pan and leave it over medium heat until it starts to brown. Then throw in rice and onions for 2 minutes and keep stirring.

2. Add the hot water, bullion cube, salt and nutmeg and bring it all to a boil. Then cover it, reduce the heat and let it simmer for 12 minutes.

3. Take the pan off the heat and add cheddar and then spinach. Serve as a side dish or a main meal. The recipe also suggests a bit of pepper.

This is actually the vegetarian or I'm-two-lazy-to-deal-with-the-ham-it-calls-for version.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Sushi sushi

E and I made sushi! We're so much more ambitious when we get together. The first step was going grocery shopping in Arlington's little Chinatown. We walked up and down all the aisles, and then we went back and did it again. At the end, lugging a heavy bag of sushi rice and lots and lots of impulse purchases, we entered the produce section. It was beautiful. We went around identifying all the vegetables. We saw a kiwano. We bought the largest avocado I've ever seen in my life. And then we saw the mangos. They were champagne mangos. Small and perfect. And they were five for a dollar. As we approached the table with reverence, a man came over with a new price sign. We knew it was too good to be true. Twenty cents for a mango? But then the man posted the sign. They were now six for a dollar. You can see them all piled up in that orange bowl. Also, notice the bamboo which I had just happened to grab on my morning walk.

Back at my parents' house, we began by boiling the rice. Short grain white rice cooks really fast. It was something like five minutes of boiling, and then fifteen minutes of waiting with the lid on. Nice. While we waited for the rice to cool down (apparently hot sushi rice is a no-no), we started our prep.

We made traditional avocado rolls with avocado, carrot, and green onion from my dad's garden. The other rolls had portobello mushrooms that were sauteed with sherry and soy sauce. And probably some sort of oil. E will eat anything with mushrooms. I'm currently hatching a plot to get her to eat beans by smothering them with mushrooms and oil. Shhh...

Then we got bored and made another roll with everything mixed together.

Look at this avocado pit! Really, this picture doesn't do it justice. The avocado was HUGE. As big as my head. If nothing else, it could have been used to make guacamole for a small marching band. If E and I hadn't eaten all of it. Fine, it was me! I ate most of it. But look how happy it made me.

And we roll it up.

This was so much fun. Nowhere near as hard as I thought it would be.