New year, new recipes

Happy new year! After 3.5 weeks of Hawaii and California, sunshine and family…I’m back in Boston. Honestly, it hadn’t been too bad, but today is just gross: dreary, rainy, cold. It makes me miss CA that much more, but I’ll admit that I’m glad to be back and have my own kitchen.

Somewhat of a New Year’s resolution: I’ve decided to expand my recipe arsenal and to now aim for at least one new recipe every week. I think it’s doable! I’m off to a running start with two recipes this week, both of which were simple and delicious. Here we go:

Sweet potato chili
adapted from Cookie+Kate

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium red onion, diced
1 green bell pepper, diced
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 large sweet potato, peeled and diced into 1/2 in. pieces
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 teaspoon cumin
1 rounded teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 teaspoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon cinammon
salt and pepper to taste
1 28 oz. can diced tomatoes
1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 can kidney beans, rinsed and drained
2 cups vegetable broth
plain greek yogurt, sliced radishes, sliced scallions (all optional, for garnish)

In a large pot, saute onions in olive oil for ~5 minutes on medium heat. Add peppers, garlic, and sweet potato. Turn the heat down to medium-low, and stir in all the spices and canned ingredients. Cover and let cook for 1.5-2 hours, stirring occasionally. When done, the sweet potatoes will be soft and the liquid will have reduced to reach that “hearty chili consistency.”

Garnish your bowl of chili with a dollop of greek yogurt, sliced radishes, and/or sliced scallions.

Parsnip leek soup
adapted from Sassy Radish

5 tablespoons olive oil
3 leeks, white and light green parts only, thinly sliced
1 garlic clove, minced
1 pound parsnips, peeled and roughly chopped
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
4 cups vegetable broth or water
1/4 cup nutritional yeast (dairy option: grated parmesan)
2 tablespoons lemon juice, plus more to taste
zest of 1 lemon

In a large pot, saute leeks in 2 tablespoons of olive oil for 5-8 minutes, until they are translucent. Don’t let leeks brown. Add garlic. Add remaining olive oil and parsnips. Add vegetable broth, stir in salt and pepper, and bring soup to a boil. Let simmer for 30 minutes, until parsnips are fork-tender. Stir in nutritional yeast, lemon juice, and zest. Adjust seasonings as necessary. Blend soup to desired consistency.

You can garnish your bowl of soup with some parsley and a drizzle of olive oil. I enjoyed my unadorned bowl with some homemade pita (freezer FTW) and sheep’s milk gouda.

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Thanksgiving 2011 recap

Success! This year, I’m thankful for counter space, iPad Thai, and some really awesome (read: compliant) sous chefs/professional dishwashers.

The not-so-skinny (but still relatively healthful, I think!): 8 dishes. I apologize for the sad photos; was trying quickly get shots (in suboptimal lighting) before we started eating!

Roasted eggplant soup, garnished with crumbled goat cheese:

Caramelized onion and goat cheese cornbread. Super moist!

Vibrant tasty green beans. Somewhat surprisingly my favorite of the meal; the leeks made this dish:

Sundried tomato stuffed mushrooms:

Golden-crusted brussel sprouts:

Kale and olive oil mashed potatoes:

And, of course, dessert.

Chocolate tie (tart-pie). This in a pie crust. Photo:

SC’s hybrid pumpkin pie, that finally, finally set!! Combined the coconut milk tip from here with this recipe. Special thanks to Yuhki and Sophie for patiently straining the filling through a fine mesh strainer, which resulted in the unreal silky smooth texture. Visual:

:). Happy Thanksgiving!!

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What I’ve been eating

Wow, how is it mid-November? It’s been a crazy fall with launching YGIG (finally!), returning to CS50 (talk about a crazy schedule adjustment), and just generally feeling the days pass by. Luckily, I’ve kept some documentation of what I’ve been eating. Some highlights (linking to recipes as available):

Finishing off summer with a slew of ribboned zucchini/summer squash salads (this was taken on the first day of CS50 2011!):

Asian-style eggplant, recipe courtesy of Yuhki (apologies for the ugly photo; sadly, delicious eggplant does not photograph well):

Kale chips:

White whole wheat Homemade pita (inaugural KitchenAid S(t)ir Mix-A-Lot recipe!):

Finally getting the hang of poached eggs (here with a tomato sauce and sauteed kale, on top of When Pigs Fly curried pumpkin bread):

Homemade applesauce (40 lbs of apples purchased this fall…and counting..):

Some unconventional non-lettuce salads == LOVE. Roasted carrot and avocado salad:

Haricot verts with shallots:

All of the pumpkin. Turned into pumpkin black bean soup (pictured with pizza a bit later), toasted pumpkin seeds (got it right on the second try!), pumpkin/spinach saag, and other assorted pumpkin goodies:

My newest thing: homemade pizza. Started with a 12-person pizza party gathering Halloweekend, now offering the SheilaChristine private pizza party experience (white whole wheat dough and basic instructions). Pizza party (photo by Ryan):

Private pizza party #1. Butternut squash and goat cheese on rosemary-flecked whole wheat dough, topped with mizuna:

Private pizza party #2. Roasted red peppers and broccoli, goat cheese, and spinach on rosemary-flecked whole wheat dough:

And, of course, an assortment of desserts.

Buckwheat cake:

Hazelnut brown butter cake:

Almond meal brownies (gluten-free):

Chocolate toffee cookies:

Vegan treats for a bake sale at Back Bay Yoga (almond butter cookies–based on these, banana-oatmeal-chocolate chip cookies, banana-oatmeal-raisin cookies, pumpkin muffins):

Coming up: Thanksgiving! Thanksgiving2011.xlsx was created last week, and the most of the groceries are already waiting for me in CA 🙂 It’s going to be legend-wait for it-…

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Hurricane Irene

The hurricane warnings have been rampant for the past couple of days, and I think the worst is over. A few fallen tree branches and some crazy bursts of wind, but things seem fine.  The difficulty in dealing with Irene wasn’t so much the prep (I still have water from the water crisis of April 2010, and food that could feed a family of 6), but riding her out, being stuck at home. And knowing me…

Yes, I pretty much baked and cooked through Irene. To prep, I visited the Farmers Market in Harvard Square on Friday and picked up ingredients to make Alice Waters’ Ratatouille (Chez Panisse is 40!). Chopped and diced veggies all afternoon before FJY (yoga/dancing to techno/house/pop remixes–yes, it’s as awesome as it sounds), then finished up after class (which, by the way, was particularly fantastic this week). A late dinner of ratatouille, sauteed kale, and quinoa with a dollop of chevre:

Saturday morning, I made a batch of steel cut oats, and then baked a raspberry yogurt cake in preparation for extended family visiting and a goodbye dinner for one of my college roommates. Tweaked this raspberry buttermilk cake a bit, and I’m very happy with the result:

Note: the problem with baking a cake before a hurricane is that your plans might fall through, and then no one can come over and help you eat said cake. Thank goodness for roommates and a working freezer.

Since dinner plans were canceled, I then…baked some more. Two batches of granola (have been experimenting lately, just small changes!), and granola bars:

And finally, today. The wait for Irene’s arrival was over, and it was just time to…well, wait until she left. In all honesty, it was quite nice having an excuse to laze around Sunday morning in my pajamas, and I finally(!) opened Sir Mix-A-Lot (Kitchen Aid stand mixer–still can’t believe it’s mine!) and the upgraded food processor (name still TBD!).  It felt like Christmas morning for a 6-year old :). No, I haven’t used either yet; I can only take so much at a time. However, I DID make a simple, tried-and-true banana bread with chocolate chips (no butter no oil!):

It’s chilling in the fridge, and in a bit I’ll slice and stash in the freezer. Lastly, I celebrated the passing of Irene with a tofu scramble, sauteed kale, and diced tomato/avocado. No photo since it kind of looked like a mesh of some of my earlier meals, but it was delicious.

Mmm, cooked and baked out. And now I have food for days, which is great because it’s going to be crazy busy!

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Lunch Series

Nothing to write home about, but some photos of my lunches this week. I’m apparently on a breakfast-for-lunch kick (I know, I should just say it’s brunch, but I personally dislike brunch!). I’ve started to freak out over the end of summer, so farm veggies galore! Will be heading to the market in just a bit…

Wednesday. Omelette with zucchini, mushroom, and goat cheddar, sliced tomato and avocado, yogurt + new granola (lighter with a hint of vanilla!). Green tea straight from Tokyo. (Oh, also, this was when I seriously cut my finger with the newly sharpened Santoku. All okay now, but ugh, I’m horrifically accident prone for being fairly cautious.)

Thursday. Ribboned some summer squash with a vegetable peeler and tossed with oak leaf lettuce, mushroom, cucumber, tomato, avocado, olive oil/salt/pepper.

Friday (today!). Egg sandwich (easy over egg and goat cheddar on my favorite pan de sal from CA), sauteed kale with Aleppo pepper, and tomato.

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Mind. Blown.

Turns out curly kale stems are EDIBLE. And quite delightful, I may add. I learned this through one of my more recent food site finds, Food52. Specific post here.

I sauteed some kale with mushrooms garlic to accompany lunch today. Olive oil, then garlic and kale stems, then mushrooms, then kale leaves. Seasoned with coriander, cumin, salt, and pepper. So good!! I’m now sad about all the kale stems I’ve discarded in the past.

Side note: how does anyone NOT like kale? I love it. I always wish I could eat more of it.

Also, I really love the summer. And even though late summer is a bit sad, especially here in Boston, it’s when the farmers markets are at their peaks. It’s incredible seeing the variety of local produce available, and so much fun market hopping throughout the week. I have an affinity for buying baby vegetables:

Photographed with my water bottle to display relative size. The baby heirlooms!! Sigh, why can’t it just be summer all the time.

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Bake Share v2.0 week 2 and my new summer breakfast!

Just pulled 2 batches of Sheinola out of the oven, and I think I’m finally good for this week. This marks the halfway point of Bake Share v2.0! Offered last week: chocolate hazelnut biscotti, peanut butter maple cookies, triple sugar cookies, banana chocolate treats. Photos:

And, now for a semi-recipe post! It’s almost the official start of summer, and the warmer weather has me wanting something a bit more cooling than steel cut oats for breakfast. And this morning, I think I finally have it! Here it is:

I’ve had chia seeds in my pantry for a long time (some left behind by a former roommate, some I had bought after reading Born to Run). Yes, chia, like chia pets. They are an Aztec superfood and supposed to be incredibly good for you. The neat thing with chia seeds is that by themselves, they don’t taste like much and are just little seeds, but if you soak them in liquid, they plump up, akin to tapioca. Almost like a healthier bubble tea (okay, who am I fooling 😉 ). I initially couldn’t find a way that I really enjoyed them, but I found this recipe, modified with what I had in my kitchen, and it was lovely (not to mention incredibly easy). This was also great because I finally had muesli I enjoyed when I was in DC two weeks ago, and now I’ve combined the two! Here is what I did:

Overnight chia-muesli bowl!
Serves 1
adapted from Choosing Raw

1/3 cup rolled oats
1 cup soymilk
3 tbsp chia seeds
1 tsp vanilla extract
berries (I used blackberries, raspberries, and blueberries)

Combine the rolled oats, soymilk, chia seeds, and vanilla extract in a bowl. Refrigerate overnight. Roll out of bed, marvel at the plumping up of chia seeds, top with berries, and enjoy. Easy peasy! Protip: for something a bit more indulgent, I imagine this would be delicious with chocolate chips…

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