Wednesday, July 7, 2010

And Just Like That ...

Ah, the winds of fate are fickle.

My gentleman caller has been dismissed (for a few reasons; it ended cordially) ergo I find myself lacking the drive to spend superfluous time in the kitchen, once again. Not to mention that the mounting levels of stress (the GC, school, money, moving) has left me with a recurrent sense of nausea.

Though this weekend, when walking home from the library, I stopped in a cute little cheese store somewhere in Midtown East and splurged on some truffle infused cow's milk cheese. I'd been nibbling on it but for last night's pity party I threw a bit on some Schar GF multi-grain bread with tomato for a grilled cheese indulgence. Extra yummy, considering I fried it up in the last of my shmancy evoo. And since the slices are so small I made a second with some generic yet tasty muenster.

As for my bread trial, I'm not super impressed. Very dry and crumbly. Udi still wins my heart.

Food therapy is evidently not what I'm needing right now. And I don't predict that changing anytime in the near future, despite Restaurant Week being next week.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Hello There, Interwebs!

I've been neglecting you, I admit it. Though it's for a good reason. Reasons.

a) This semester is completely different from the first semester. I have 7 classes instead of 3 and have had to take an entirely new approach to studying. Which means yes, I am at the library every. Single. Night. And at least one day on the weekends.

b) I'm moving! I braved the deep, shark infested waters of Manhattan's real estate ocean and did not drown (or get eaten.) I will be sticking with my current roommate, Brittney, a sweetheart and a half. Our new place (as of 7/15) is in the East Village/Alphabet City/AWESOME area. Though farther than I'd like to be it was too good a deal to pass up.

c) I have a gentleman caller. 'Nuff said.

d) It. Is. Hot. And I've been too busy to cook (see e)

e.) My birthday was Tuesday! I celebrated more than adequately. I definitely rate turning 26 in my top 3 birthdays ever.

All of that having been outlined, is there any question left in your mind as to why I haven't been cooking (or eating that much, really. Oops.) The last time I spent more than 5 minutes in a kitchen was when I cooked dinner for my gentleman caller (we'll abbreviate that GC) last Friday.

No fear, however. Once I move, settle in, and get all of my kitchen stuff from my parents' house in MA I'll be ready to give it another go!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Oh yes, I remember now

Now that we've gotten back into the full swing of things I'm reminded of the fact that grad school = no time to cook. Or eat, sometimes.

Breakfast has once again become a grande iced coffee with soy milk from the 'Bucks (as I call it) sucked down on the 2.5 block walk to my apt., followed by a bowl of Mesa Sunrise cereal with almond milk. Every single weekday.

Lunch? Uhhh ... I've fallen in love with Jamba Juice once again, unfortunately (not nutrition-wise, price-wise) and have been sustaining myself on that vat of gazpacho I made the other week. With some nuts here & there.

Oh! The other night I was craving ricotta cheese (weird, right? I think my cheese/calcium cravings have to do with my hormone cycles - tell me if this is TMI, but then again I am a medical professional) and I had a box of some GF pasta brand I'd never tried so I grabbed some vine tomatoes & mozzarella as well and made a haphazard lasagna-esque ... thing. It was not as awesome as it could have been if I'd used a) an egg and b) basil (the D'Ag was out of basil) but it served for 3 meals so ... whatever.

Tomorrow night I'll cook for real. Wait for it ...

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Twist on a Classic

Grilled cheese with horseradish cheddar (Udi's GF bread, Earth Balance "butter")

Dipped into spicy gazpacho in place of tomato soup (still working my way through the cauldron I concocted a few days ago.)

My taste buds are overjoyed and my thermoreceptors happy for the hot/cold combo!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Herb Play

One of the things I look forward to about moving come August 1st (of many) is the potential to reinstate an herb box. Nothing compares to fresh herbs. My current over-obsessions have been sage & cilantro. Hence last night's kitchen shenanigans:

For immediate dinner I used Tinkyada brown rice veggie pasta which I topped with sliced Shiitake mushrooms sauteed in "butter" (I used Earth Balance, my second favorite brand) with minced garlic, shallots, and fresh sage. Not too much effort, not too much time in the toasty kitchen, not too heavy in my belly!

And to carry me through the weekend I tried, for the very first time, my hand at gazpacho. It came out fairly well. I followed a standard recipe (from America's Test Kitchen cookbook) but the food processor in my apartment now is not entirely up to par. And is tiny. So the veggie prep took much longer than I anticipated. Future tips to myself: more cilantro and pepper, maybe a shake of curry and extra Tabasco to kick up the kick a skoche.

Tonight I'll be mashing up some avocados & fixin' some more arepas for dinner - enough to have leftovers for a quick dinner tomorrow night since we're having a little social engagement with the upperclassman.

I'm not sure why my passion for food creation briefly ebbed but my goddess am I glad it's back!

Monday, June 14, 2010

Motherly Love

Ah! What a weekend!

Cafeteria was cute and tasty (perfect for a 24 hour place) with small-ish portions. Given that fact, after walking the 70 odd blocks to the Guggenheim and around the museum itself our bellies were fairly rumbly on the walk back to my apartment. Then, like a shining beacon, appeared in front of me Candle 79 - the vegan restaurant with a gluten free menu that I've been wanting to try for a very long time.

Scrumptious! I loved their guacamole with flax chips app and absolutely scarfed down the young coconut pad thai. Super happy to have finally sampled their wares.

And after wading through obnoxious crowds and waiting in the awkward humidity at the TKTS booth for Billy Elliot tix we trekked around a bit more before finally giving in and cabbing it down to Caracas for dinner. Those arepas now have my mother's heart as well as my own.

Sunday morning found us at Bar Breton for some buckwheat galettes and GF french fries(!) before some more walking and finally the farewell. Since I was already uptown I grabbed a bunch of produce at the Food Emporium under the Queensborough (I like their selection) and finally sucked it up and started my return to working out after eating my way through this vacation.

As for the last hurrah, I went to the roof deck where we made pancakes de platanos and watched Zombieland. Perfect.

Now back to a school schedule, meaning I had a bowl of cereal and Starbucks coffee with soy milk for breakfast while quickly making a small batch of arepas for lunch. Dinner plans = gazpacho! I foresee myself craving cold soups this summer ...

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Evidently I'm a Slacker

I have a seasonal problem: every year when it starts to get unbearably hot & humid & sticky & gross I lose ALL motivation to stand in my typically tiny kitchen over a hot stove or with the oven pre-heating. Hence my meal 1-3 times a day for the past few weeks has been: cereal.

Not the most terribly exciting food to blog about, ya hear? Though since I've been on break the past week I have been pretty much eating my way through vacation ...

Friday: after a few post-final drinks I dragged 2 classmates to Mozarelli's for GF pizza & cookies
Saturday: my dear, dear, lovely friend Alisa is in town! we brunch at Friedman's Lunch in Chelsea Market, over-stuff at Babycakes GF, vegan bakery in LES, and grill up some veggies on my buddy Seth's roof deck (current obsession = platanos)
Sunday: brunch at Peters' (UES), Alisa departs, dinner with some of my bestest at Caracas (still in the honeymoon phase of this love)
Monday: S'MAC for lunch with a friend (the Parisienne - total foodgasm), guacamole with my sweetie of a roommate, Brittney, on our stoop for dinner
Tuesday: quick trip to Boston! dinner with dad at Wagamama in Harvard Square
Wednesday: new frozen GF pizza from Whole Foods for breakfast (the brand escapes me), Poe's kitchen at Rattlesnake for lunch (gave my friend and head chef, Brian Poe, his gift of Szechuan peppercorns from Beijing), drinks with a classmate also from Boston at Lord Hobo
Thursday: back to NYC, made dinner for friends - spiced pecans, saag paneer, avocado salad (recipes below)
Friday: grilling for the World Cup opening! I make everyone scrambled eggs with various condiments for breakfast and offer up GF pancakes for lunch, still too full for dinner.

now my mum is in town and we are ready to rock it like nobody's business!

Spiced Pecans
4 c. pecan halves (or whatever, just not chopped)
2 Tbsp oil (veg, canola, olive, your preference)
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cayenne
1 1/2 tsp finely chopped fresh thyme (worth it!)
1 tsp finely chopped fresh rosemary (also worth it!)
1/2 tsp bl. pepper
1/4 c. dark brown sugar
1/4 c. melted butter (or fake vegan butter)

preheat to 400F, toss all the ingredients well, spread out in a single layer on a cookie sheet, roast 8 minutes, DIE because your taste buds are so overwhelmed with awesome (recipe courtesy of my best friend's mother-in-law)

1/2 gallon whole milk (or more, if you want more)
acid (acetic, citric)

easiest thing ever: boil milk (watch the heavy saucepan, as soon as milk boils it will immediately try to froth its way out of the pot!), as soon as boiling starts remove from heat, add 2+ Tbsp of your acid, stir a bit, let sit 15-20 minutes. the acid will precipitate the curds from the whey. strain through 2 layers of cheesecloth. store in either a ball or squish flat on a plate to make those cute paneer cubes. should sit for ~1 day.

ack! left my recipe at Laura & Tim's place. you can obviously use your favorite saag recipes. I personally don't add yogurt or tomatoes and cook with oil, not ghee.

Avocado Salad
this one I made up while I was in the grocery store ...

bunch of arugula, washed & torn to bite-sized
head of Bibb lettuce, do the same
2 avocados, cubed
1 yellow bell pepper, diced
1 Valencia orange, cut to bite-sized (I'd have preferred Mandarin but oh well)

Lemon Shallot Dressing
3/4 c. oil (I used evoo)
3+ Tbsp lemon juice (depends on your level of lemon, I like more, especially if it doesn't have time to integrate)
1 minced shallot
2 tsp Dijon mustard
1 1/2 tsp minced fresh thyme
1 garlic clove, minced
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper

shake it up!

there you go, and we're off to breakfast at Cafeteria.