Tuesday, January 31, 2012

It's February?

It's Tuesday again. How?

Seriously though, it's like I turn my head and a whole week goes by; I blink my eyes and the weekend is over. It's February tomorrow. Yes, February 2012. Where did time go?

Anyways, enough of that. I went to the movies on Saturday--needed my dose of therapy--to watch Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close. It was emotional to say the least; I had to look up to avoid getting dripped mascara all over my cheeks. Oh and the acting... Thomas Horn is amazing.

Did you know he won Jeopardy in 2010? Yup, pocketed $31,000. And now he acts--beautifully--in one of the most powerful movies I've ever seen. Wow.

About food, here is my second attempt at a bread recipe I took from Bittman's How to Cook Everything last year. It turned out better this time since there was less crust (and thus more soft inside), but I still have to find a better bread recipe. Or maybe I should keep trying to perfect this one.

I used some slices to make a tomato and mozzarella sandwich for my Eat This Instead of That series on the BUQuad and it turned out delicious! Enjoy.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Oranges + Chocolate

My sweet tooth has been super active these past few days. I can't seem to go without my daily dose of fruit, peanut butter or chocolate. But it's getting to a point where all I'm ever craving is sweets. Not good.

Oh well, I figure if I let myself indulge for a while then hopefully it will go away or at least die out a little bit. If  not, I will have trouble fitting into my pants. Again.

In other news, this week was very much everything I hoped it would be; long days and short nights--you'll find I am not one to sleep a lot. I am officially no longer an Abercrombie employee. Sad, I know, but it's for the best. Basically, if I kept it I would have to forgo this blog for another semester and that is just not an option.

So anyways, I thought it would be fun to try a completely different recipe. A combo of fruit and chocolate (not fondue). Sweetened orange slices covered in chocolate. Sound good? It is.

Chocolate Covered Glaceed Orange Slices (adapted from Martha Stewart)
Active time: 30 minutes. Total time: 8 1/2 hours.
Makes about 24 slices.

  • 2 navel oranges
  • 1 cup granulated Splenda
  • 8 oz semisweet chocolate
  1. With the peel on, slice oranges into 1/4-inch rounds; cut into half moons. 
  2. In a large pot, bring 2 cups water and Splenda to a boil, stirring occasionally to prevent crystals on the sides. Add orange slices and reduce heat. Cover with parchment paper and gently simmer until oranges are soft and glazed, about 1 hour and 45 minutes.
  3. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to a wire rack set over a lined baking sheet. Let orange slices dry until slightly tacky, about 5 hours.
  4. Melt 2/3 chocolate in 30 second intervals in the microwave until just melted. Mix in the rest of the chocolate and stir to melt. Carefully dip the orange slices in the chocolate just enough to cover half. Place orange slices on baking sheet lined with parchment paper and let dry. Store slices in an airtight container for two days or about three week in the refrigerator.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012


It's hard to imagine my life without vegetables. Basically, I would go crazy.

Unlike many people, I absolutely adore veggies. Most of my daily meals include vegetables in some form or another--yes, even breakfast sometimes features roasted tomatoes or sauteed mushrooms. Lunch and dinner are rarely without a colorful veggie; and when I want a snack, I find it's carrots or cherry tomatoes that hit the spot.

I'm not saying I eat only vegetables--that would actually be a complete lie--but it's probably safe to say they make up more than 50 percent of my diet.

This next recipe falls within my favorites solely because it's asparagus based. I find the veggie recipes I love are usually the simplest; honestly, give me a veggie and I will eat it! Anyways, this asparagus salad is simple, but it actually takes quite some time to make since you have to slice every asparagus with a peeler. My advice, use the largest asparagus you can find; stay away from the thin ones! Other than that, the tangy dressing is delicious and fresh--I'm sure it would be very good on lettuce also. Enjoy!

Shaved Raw Asparagus Salad (adapted from Food & Wine)
Makes about 5 servings. Total time: 30 minutes.

  • 2 lbs. large asparagus
  • 1 cup coarsely grated parmesan cheese
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons warm water
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • Salt & Pepper
  1. Using a vegetable peeler, carefully shave the asparagus into long, thin strips. Transfer into a large bowl.
  2. In a small bowl, mix the parmesan cheese, lemon juice, water and olive oil. Using a fork, beat the dressing slightly while pouring it over the asparagus; toss to coat. Season with salt and pepper and serve immediately.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Tennis + Soup

As I am sitting here watching the Australian Open, there is one thing on my mind: tennis.

Well duh; what else should I be thinking of right? Wrong. I should be thinking about what to write for my journalism class, my pitch for the upcoming issue of TasteBUds or the reading I was supposed to do this afternoon.

Too bad, the only thing I can think of is watching Federer play Del Potro tonight. The problem is, my eyes are having a hard time staying open and all my body wants to do is crawl in bed. At this point I have no idea who is going to win. Tennis or sleep? Tough question.

Anyways, today's weather called for nothing other than soup. It was so gloomy when I was outside this morning--yes I did wake up for an 8 a.m. class thank you very much--that by the time lunch hour rolled around, I was craving a steamy bowl of soup. Luckily for me, yesterday I stocked my fridge with all the necessary ingredients for a butternut squash soup.

Butternut Squash Nutmeg Soup (adapted from Food & Wine Annual Cookbook 2011)
Makes about 6 servings. Active time: 30 minutes. Total time: 1 hour.

  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 medium onion, chopped
  • 1/2 celery stalk, coarsely chopped
  • 1 shallot, chopped
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 2 1/2 cups water
  • 1 (2 lb.) butternut squash, diced into 1/2-inch cubes
  • Pinch of nutmeg
  • Salt & Pepper
  • Cilantro (optional)
  1. In a large pot, melt butter over medium high heat. Add onion, celery and shallot; cook, stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes, or until vegetables are tender. Add wine and simmer for 3 minutes. Add broth and water and bring to a boil.
  2. Add butternut squash, lower heat to medium and cover partially. Cook for about 30 minutes or until squash is soft. Working in batches, puree soup in blender. Return soup to heat and bring to a boil. 
  3. Add nutmeg; season with salt and pepper. Serve with cilantro sprig as garnish.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Boo Hoo.

I should be in a great mood; or at least a good one. But I'm not. It sucks.

I'm not going to get caught up in that though, I'll blog about the semester ahead. Everything seems to be going smoothly--sure, I have only been in Boston for a week, but it counts. Classes are interesting, my job is good, the weather is consistently cold and snowy (which if you know me, that's a good thing).

Here's to the week ahead. Four days of class, three early mornings, two Cardiostep classes and what I hope will be a relaxing weekend. I don't have more to say since my mood is not cooperating, but here is what I made for lunch.

A sophisticated version of a Mexican staple, this surimi quesadilla is colorful and flavorful like no other. The sauteed vegetables make it a healthy variation (kind of) and the surimi marinade adds just the right amount of spice. Oh, and each bite packs a whole lot of cheese. Enjoy!

Surimi Pepper Quesadilla (adapted from Cook This, Not That)
Makes 2 servings. Active time: 15 minutes. Total time: 20 minutes

  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 1/2 tablespoon Maggi sauce
  • 1/2 tablespoon chipotle salsa
  • 2 sticks surimi (imitation crab), shredded
  • 1 teaspoon
  • 1/4 red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, sliced
  • Salt & Pepper
  • 4 tortillas (I used nopal tortillas, but corn tortillas work)
  • 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  1. In a small bowl, combine vinegar, Maggi and chipotle. Add surimi and marinate for 15 minutes.
  2. In the meantime, heat oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and pepper and saute, stirring occasionally, for about 15 minutes, or until slightly charred. Add surimi and cook for another 5 minutes.
  3. In a separate pan, heat two tortillas over low heat. Distribute half of the cheese on the tortillas, placing half of the surimi mixture in the middle. Place one tortilla over the other to create the quesadilla. Cook until cheese is melted, about 5 minutes, turning over once or twice. Serve immediately.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Mushroom Ravioli

First of all, I am NEVER making pasta again without a pasta maker--well at least not ravioli.

Since I have settled that, I can tell you about my horrible experience trying to make ravioli (without a pasta maker or a rolling pin). I decided to make it after browsing through my new Food & Wine cookbook and becoming hungry just by looking at the photographs. The recipe seemed easy. It was not.

Anyways, given that I am going back to my old blogging ways (posting more often than not), here is my first recipe of the semester: mushroom ravioli.

If you have a lot of dedication--and plenty of time on your hands--try this; if not, wait until you purchase a pasta maker and then do it. Even though I became discouraged during the process, in the end these turned out better than I expected.

Ravioli (adapted from Food & Wine)

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon semolina flour + more for dusting
  • 3 large eggs (make sure they are large)
  • 1-1 1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • Filling (I used sauteed mushrooms)
  1. In a food processor, pulse all-purpose flour with salt and semolina flour. Add eggs and pulse until just incorporated, careful not to overdo.
  2. With the machine on, add olive oil in a thin stream and process until moistened crumbs form. Turn onto semolina-dusted surface and knead dough just until smooth. Wrap dough in plastic wrap and let sit at room temperature for 30 minutes.
  3. Cut dough into 4 equal pieces and wrap in plastic. Working with one piece at a time, flatten using a rolling pin (or wine bottle in  my case) until dough is thin enough to see the outline of your hand through it. Dust with more semolina if necessary, but careful not to add too much since it will dry the dough.
  4. Cut strips of dough 8 inches wide. Place filling 1/2 inch from edge, placing more filling every other inch. Fold dough over filling and cut ravioli, leaving a 1/2 inch edge. Using a fork, press dough together around filling to seal. Place ravioli on a semolina-dusted baking sheet until finished with remaining dough.
  5. In a large pot, boil water with a pinch of salt. Cook half the ravioli over high heat until al dente, about 3 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, carefully transfer ravioli to platter (or pan if working with sauce). Repeat with remaining ravioli and serve right away. Uncooked ravioli can be frozen for up to 1 month (freeze first on baking sheet and transfer to plastic bag).

For a quick sauce: dice tomatoes and sauté in pan over medium heat. Add ravioli when tomatoes are cooked and stir for a couple of minutes. Sprinkle ravioli with mozzarella cheese and serve immediately.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

New Semester: Fresh Start

Break is almost over. Sad.

I can't believe how fast it went by. It seems like two days ago I was lugging my suitcases up the wooden stairs of my Mexico home; it seems like just yesterday I was trying not to slip on the icy slopes of Aspen. Now it's all just a blur.

I have to admit I'm sad to leave (as always). But I'm also ecstatic about starting a new semester; I need a fresh start.

So here's to a new semester--a great one too!

Anyways, I ran into a recipe for apple crisps a couple of days ago, and I couldn't get it out of  my mind since then. So I decided to give it a try today. Turns out, you don't need a fruit dehydrator to make apple chips; you just need an apple corer, a mandoline and an oven set to a low temperature.

Take two apples and you get plenty of chips. The perfect snack to go with a cup of tea on a cold and rainy afternoon.

Apple Crisps (adapted from The Kitchn)
Active time: 10 minutes. Total time: 1 1/2-2 hours.

  • 2 apples, I used Granny Smith, cored
  • Cinnamon
  • Sugar or Splenda
  1. Preheat oven to 225 F. Line two rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. Using a mandoline, slice apples into 1/6-1/4 inch rounds. Arrange apple rounds on lined baking sheets. Sprinkle with cinnamon and splenda. 
  3. Bake for 1 1/2 hours, or until edges are crisp and apple rounds get wrinkly, turning rounds and sprinkling again halfway. Let cool and serve. 

*These won't keep very long because they will become moist and lose their crispiness, so EAT UP! They're very very healthy anyways, so who cares.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Laziness + Granola

I guess I should acknowledge that I am past the 100th post! Woooo-hoooo!

Today I woke up wanting to bake but I had no idea what to make. Given my super packed schedule including Just Dance 3, tanning and coffee with friends, I didn't have too much time to spare. Oh, and I also had to pay a visit to the dentist--one which I always dread.

But when I mentioned the urge to bake to my mother, she quickly jumped at the opportunity. She asked me to make her granola. I said sure.

Here is the recipe for a quick granola that tastes great atop fruit and yogurt, sprinkled on a salad, or even on its own. Pros: it's simple to make, it's plenty, and it makes the kitchen smell amazing! Cons: it will most likely be gone quickly.

Apricot & Ginger Granola
Active time: 20 minutes. Total time: 50 minutes + cooling

  • 6 cups old fashioned oats
  • 2 cups sliced almonds
  • 1 cup sunflower seeds
  • 1 cup pumpkin seeds
  • 3/4 cup canola oil
  • 3/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups dried apricots, chopped
  • 1/3 cup crystalized ginger, finely chopped
  1. Preheat oven to 375 F. 
  2. In a large bowl, mix oats, almonds and seed with oil, maple syrup and salt. Stir with a wooden spoon until combined. Spread granola on two rimmed baking sheets; place in oven and bake for 30 minutes, stirring halfway.
  3. Remove granola from oven and cool completely on sheets. Add apricots and ginger and toss to mix. *Granola can be stored in an airtight container for up to a week or frozen up to 4 months.

Monday, January 9, 2012

To a new year

**Disclaimer: this post was supposed to go up on New Years Day, but you know how I am with keeping up the blog. Oops**

First let me state the facts. I am still mad at the weather for pulling a no-snow ten days while I was in Aspen, only to send in a batch of powder two days after I left. I will probably hold a grudge until next year when I will hopefully get to ski on snow rather than ice, stones and tree branches.

Regardless though I am grateful for the awesome trip I had the past week and a half--I even have to admit that I did learn a thing or two from the awful snow. Too bad it's over, because this year it really did not seem like enough time in the mountains; maybe I will have to make that long awaited ski trip to Maine or Vermont.

Well New Years Eve was a blast. Had dinner with family and friends--the same friends who make me come down the mountain panting as I try to keep up with their skiing--and after that, I went to a glamorous party with my dad and my sister. I ended the night around 2 a.m. (no thanks to the Aspen curfew) after a lot of dancing and posing for a fun photo-booth that was set up.

Now the food. I was only in charge of dessert, so I decided to make something simple but elegant. I chose coconut macaroons. These are from one of the Epicurious Blue Ribbon recipes, and they sure are worthy of a ribbon. Plus, they are not difficult to make and they are enough for a big party.

Macaroons (adapted from Epicurious)

  • 1 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 3/4 cups sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons
  • 2 teaspoons finely grated orange peel
  • 2 eggs
  • 24 oz. sweetened flaked coconut
  • 6 oz. semisweet chocolate
  1. Place rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 325 F. Line 3 baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. Beat butter until smooth. Add sugar and salt and beat until well blended. Add orange peel and beat until incorporated.
  3. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Mix in coconut.
  4. Drop tablespoonfuls of batter onto prepared baking sheets, 1 1/2 inches apart from each other. Bake macaroons for 25-30 minutes, until the bottoms are golden and some spots are browned. Cool completely.
  5. In a medium saucepan set over simmering water, melt chocolate. Drizzle chocolate on macaroons using a spatula. Chill macaroons on sheets until chocolate is hardened.