Posts Tagged ‘food’

Did the title make you hungry? That is why you are reading this post. Welcome!

Today, I want to share a lesson with you: A step-by-step guide on how to make your ordinarily boney feet swell like… well, things that are known for being super swollen.

1. Get pregnant. This may take a while. (See archived posts)

2. Brag about how you haven’t had swollen appendages so far, then begin week 38.

Gorgeous veggies and herbs!

3. Decide to make an Asian-inspired sesame peanut noodle salad.

4. Drive to local Asian market for green onion and cilantro. Easy peasy! It is only 5 mins away! And for a bushel of both you only pay $1.50. Cash only.

5. Cook pasta. We had linguine, so I used that.

6. Cook edamame.

7. Chop raw veggies and herbs: garlic, cilantro, red peppers, green peppers, green onion. Omit carrots since they went bad.  Oops! Omit bean sprouts because you just aren’t into them.

8. Shell edamame to add to veggies (pictured to the left). Eat extra edamame and share with Patrick. If you don’t have a Patrick, all the better, more for you!

Chicken in some foil

9. Grill chicken flavored with sea salt, fresh ground pepper, curry powder, and coriander. Have Patrick help you with this stage because the grill pan is splattering and you can’t handle it. If you still haven’t got a Patrick, deal with oil splatter or use sparingly to avoid this problem altogether.

10. When linguine is finished, add a bit of sesame oil to noodles to prevent from sticking. Pop in fridge.

11. Put veggies in fridge. Keep them crispy!

12. Slice cooked chicken into thin slices and add to fridge too. I stored these in tin foil since I ran out of room in fridge. (See blurry picture to right.)


13. Kill this healthy collection of ingredients by making this fabulously fatty dressing: 1tbsp of sesame oil, 1 tbsp olive oil, 1 tbsp soy sauce, a 1tsp of chili oil, a squeeze of honey, juice from 1 lime, and 1/3 cup of peanut butter. Stir it up.

14. Combine pasta, veggies, chicken, and toss with dressing. Sprinkle sesame seeds on top!

15. Put finished product in fridge. Allow flavors to mix and mingle and chum up before eating.

Salad for days!

16. Suddenly become aware of the fact that you have been on your feet for 2+ hours (world’s slowest cook?) and they hurt REALLY, REALLY bad.

17. Look down at feet and notice they have ballooned! You now have fat balloon animal feet! But you have also made a great noodle dish. So kick your feet up and come to terms with the fact that you have 0-28 more days of fat feet to look forward to. But bonus, you also have 1-3 days of peanut sesame noodles to look forward to!

18. If you follow this guide, more or less, you too can have delicious peanut sesame noodles and swollen feet. Now it is your turn to give it a go!


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Patrick, our friend E., and I took a cooking class this week. We learned to cook “en papillote.” It is a surprisingly fast and easy classic French cooking technique that mixes arts & crafts, origami, and crazy delicious results. As Ina would say, “What could be better than that?” Cooking en papillote with your faves, that’s what!

In class we cooked (1) Mediterranean shrimp (raw), (2) frozen dumplings (Pork gyoza dumplings from Trader Joe’s), and (3) classic dill salmon.

Step One-A: Cut your parchment paper into a heart.


Step One-B: Practice folding without food. Fold paper heart in half (over food) — start at the cleavage of the heart and fold along the edges and twist the tail of the heart (not a metaphor).

Look, ma, I did it!

Step Two: Put your heart to the side (not a metaphor) and chop and mix ingredients!

Can even do frozen dumps and chopped veggies! We also added just a bit of soy sauce, sesame oil, and sesame seeds to the mixture.

Step Three: Wrap it up! Place mixed food along one side of heart. And fold it down.

Patrick makes a packet en papillote!

Step Four: Put it in the oven at 425 degrees! (General rule: For protein over an inch thick, 10 minutes will do it. For protein under an inch thick, 8 minutes will get the job done. For real! Frozen dumplings take a little longer to steam — 10-11 minutes).

They should puff up in the oven. But if they don’t, the food inside still tastes just as good. That puffy one is our friend’s. Ooh la la!

Step Five: Cut open top with scissors. Admire the magic and the fragrance! Now that’s fast food!

Snip! Snip!

Mediterranean shrimp!

Dumplings and veggies!

Salmon with dill and shallots (and a 1/2 tbsp of butter and splash of white wine)

Step Six: Eat your heart out! Bon appetite!

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Yesterday I did something new. It started with Knorr Garlic Shells for lunch. This isn’t the new thing. I’ve been eating this crap since college (back when they were called Lipton Creamy Garlic Shells). The “sauce” doubles as paste. Bad, bad, creamy, and comforting glue noodles!

Yeah, yeah, judge me all you want!

So, I am a bit absent-minded. I get easily distracted unless I lock in on a task. Making this meal is hardly a lock-in task. So while I was tweet-bragging about my NaNoWriMo progress, karma was obviously in the neighborhood, because she kicked my butt immediately. That brat sent most of the  milk/butter/water mixture boiling over into the collection tray below.

Food boiling over is nothing new, but the *intensity* of  burnt milk smell permeating the house was new. The fact that a deep puddle of milk was in the collection tray was new. But I love a cleaning challenge, so after lunch I rolled up my sleeves and…

For the first time ever I took our old-fashioned electric stove apart to *REALLY* clean it! We’ve been living here for two years without having done this. We are savages! Barbarians!

First I figured out how to pull these out! Basically just yanked like the barbarian I am! Ooga!

2 years worth of grime soaking it up!

Naked stove top! Stop looking, pervs!

Okay, it wasn’t the coolest new activity ever, but it was tremendously satisfying and a serious arm workout! This duty is now in my housekeeping calendar! What? You pros don’t have a housekeeping calendar? Obviously I need one! I am, after all, a savage!

Clean and has its clothes back on. You can look now!

Oh! I also made my first pasta sauce yesterday! Although “my first homemade sauce” post could have made for a more colorful and less disgusting read, I didn’t want to deprive you of stove-related pictures.

Sauce splattering onto my newly cleaned stovetop.

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I think it is time we talk about it — the circle of life; the pie of Patrick’s eye; the reason Donatello and Raphael crawl out of the sewers — yup, pizza!

One day I was in Trader Joe’s and stumbled upon pizza dough occupying the shelf that my favorite salsa used to sit in. I thought, “What the <bleep>?” But I said, “Hey! Where’s my salsa?” No one answered me, as is typical when I talk aloud in the market. So I found my shopping mate, held up a bag of dough and said: “Hey, let’s make a pizza!” Patrick shrugged delightedly and said, “OK!” That is how it all started…

As it turns out, homemade pizza is primarily delicious because you have the ability to make it just the way you like it. I like it packed with fresh herbs. I’m obsessed with basil so I used to put whole leaves of it on top right after it came out of the oven. But after consuming about 100+ pies (maybe 7), Patrick let on that he wasn’t so fond of basil in large quantities. So now I chop it into ribbons, which he finds more palatable. I also bake rosemary into the crust. He has not yet admitted to hating that.

Our pizzas change slightly each time. But the delish taste is a constant. (Except that one time we ran out of cheese but had already started making the pizza. That was horrible. It was just a dry tomato-topped flatbread with herbs on it. So with the exception of that one cheese-less pizza, we make ’em pretty tasty-like.)

My problem has always been shape. I’m the creator of many pizza shapes, master of none.

There is this:

Wonky Square Shaped Pizza

Then this:

Wonky Oval Shaped Pizza

And I don’t even know how this happened (Got Basil?):

Wonky Heart Shaped Pizza

What is a girl to do? I’ll tell you what. She should mention her pizza shape failings in someone else’s blog comment section. All was revealed! No doubt this tidbit was passed down from generation to generation in the co-commenter’s family. And then she shared the secret with me — start with the dough in a ball.

Don’t snigger! I didn’t know!! I appreciated the advice but I was suspicious that I, the creator of Wonky Heart Pizzas, would be capable of the elusive Circle Shaped Pizza. So I took pictures this last pizza-making session to prove to the masses it just isn’t that easy…

Step One: Start with dough rolled into a ball.

See? Nice round ball.

Step Two: Eye dough suspiciously as it starts to resemble a circle shape.

Mid-kneed. Looks OK but, I can feel the wonky coming...

Step Three: Get those fixins on your first Circle Shaped Pizza, girl!

Circle Shaped Pizza!!!!

Step Four: Wonder what Circle Shaped Pizza really means. Most pizzas end up sliced and chewed up in the end. Just like this one…

Existentialism does not belong on pizza. Just eat it already!

Anyway, thanks to the person who doesn’t read my blog, but was kind enough to comment on my comment on someone else’s blog. You made Circle Shaped Pizza accessible to us all!

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We love fresh basil and rosemary but hate buying it every week at the market. This summer we grew rosemary, basil, flat-leaf parsley, and mint. Now that Fall is upon us, we brought the herbs indoors. Still on the look-out for some flat-leaf parsley (we killed ours)…

Dr. Livingston, I presume?

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Dearest Future Baby,

When it comes to baking, I am a failure. Admittedly, after 6 years of marriage I just started concocting meals this past summer with regularity. But I seem to have a knack for making simple, flavorful meals. By the time you are into solid foods, I will be quite the cook, so don’t even ask if we can go to McDonald’s.

My desserts, on the other hand, have been disastrously awful. Dearest future baby, this will not improve, I fear. I called an end to my brief baking tenure this past Saturday after another failed dessert attempt. Upon my announcement, our darling Patrick (daddy to you), always encouraging and blindly supportive, said, “Nooooo! You’re great at baking!” I countered this kind falsehood with facts.

Let us review my last three attempts at baking dessert:

  1. Oatmeal cookies (for your daddy’s birthday). I had to make two batches. The first were hard as bricks and had less flavor than dog biscuits — trashed. The second batch was edible, according to your dad. But we’ve already established he is known for supportive white lies.
  2. Biscotti. Speaking of dog biscuits, I managed to somehow bake all flavor out of almond-y, nutty, sweet biscotti. I gagged a bit when I tried one, then I tried another one with the same result — trashed.
  3. Apple crumble. We found a great farm we want to take you to. We went apple picking this weekend and returned with lots of baking apples (red gravensteins) and snack apples (mcintosh and red gala). So your daddy and I peeled, sliced, measured, and mixed. I got overzealous and added lots of lemon zest. Big mistake! Lemony apples and crumble that never really baked… We each forced a portion down our crumble-holes and agreed it was quite terrible — trashed.

In sum, if the point of baking desserts is to make a mess, dirty dishes, and waste food by immediately trashing it, I am an unmitigated success. Perhaps I even deserve an award.

So, dearest little-one, I hope you take after me and prefer savory over sweet 364 days/year. If you are like your dad, however, you will have to give baking a try when you are old enough… I will not make you suffer my attempts.

Love, Your patiently waiting mommy

P.S. Great news! My blogging pal, and fellow Harry Potter fan, recently posted a recipe for apple butter. Not only is this an oven-free recipe, but we get to use our sloooow cooker! So the rest of our apple harvest will not go to waste and my tea-and-toast mornings will be extra delicious this fall and winter!

"Please don't make me eat the whole thing!"

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Lulu says, "Bacon makes the world go 'round... and tequila."

Research shows that what a woman eats during pregnancy shapes food preferences of her child later in life. Both breast milk and amniotic fluid contain the flavors of foods that mom-to-be is eating. In fact, research at the Monell Chemical Senses Center has not yet found a flavor that isn’t transferred in utero. It is even proposed that memories of those flavors in breast milk shape a child’s food preferences later in life. Neat and ew! So it isn’t just that you are what you eat when you’re preggos, but your baby is what you eat too.

The bottom line of this research seems to be, “So moms-to-be, start eating right ASAP.” As if pregnant ladies are all at home eating Twinkies and potato chips since finding out they are with child.

When I’m rocking the bump I will be making a conscious effort to keep my diet balanced, but here are the foods I can’t get enough of, so my babe will be likely to be LOVING:

  1. bacon (and prosciutto)
  2. pho
  3. edamame
  4. potatoes
  5. Sour Skittles (I am ashamed)

Of course there are certain foods (good and bad) that I just cannot eat, future baby, so here are a few new tastes you’ll have to acquire on your own (though I’m sure your dairy-loving daddy will help):

  1. cheese
  2. ice cream
  3. yogurt
  4. chocolate
  5. jello/pudding

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