Thursday, March 29, 2012

Pepper Onion Sandwich

It's the end of the week! Or almost.

On Sunday I thought this week would never end. That was when it hadn't even started, but now that I look back, it flew by. And it puts my whole semester into perspective--maybe even my whole life. In about one month, I will be done with my junior year of college. When did this happen?

It's crazy to think that I've lived in Boston, on my own, for almost three years now. I'm baffled. So I've decided to start living in the moment--not that I wasn't trying to do so beforehand. I'm really going to try and make the best out of everything. Boring philosophical talk right? No. I'm talking the small stuff, like smiling to that stranger I met at orientation when I run into him on the street (even if he thinks I'm creepy); or making a real effort to stay on top of my reading; or refraining myself from badmouthing somebody I don't like. This also includes building up the courage to open up to and trust other people--something which is extremely hard for me. Basically I'm going to try to be a better--and more outgoing--person.

But enough with the talk about me. Here's what I had for lunch yesterday. And let me just say it was delicious!

Red Pepper & Onion Cheese Sandwich
Active time: 10 minutes. Total time: 20 minutes.

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 red bell pepper, sliced
  • 1/4 red onion, thinly sliced
  • Scant 1/4 cup red wine
  • 1/4 shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 2 slices turkey
  • 1 Trader Joe's Whole Wheat Thin Slim, or other bread
  1. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add the bell pepper and onion and cook until slightly tender, for about 4 minutes. Add red wine and lower heat to medium. Continue cooking until wine is evaporated and vegetables are slightly browned. Transfer to plate and set aside.
  2. Do not clean off skillet. Assemble sandwich by placing turkey on one piece of bread and topping it with pepper-onion mix. Top with cheese and remaining bread.
  3. Cook sandwich on skillet over medium heat, pressing occasionally, for about 2 minutes. Flip and cook for one more minute or until cheese is melted. Serve immediately.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Sweet Indulgence

They're fluffy; they're flaky; they're sweet; and best of all they're totally guilt free!

What are they? ... Meringues! Yup, today I finally made the treats that I have been craving for months--basically since I left home in January. After hours of writing (that taco feature I was talking about is well on its way now) I decided to take a break and bake.

Now I'm happily satisfied with the batch of meringues--or what's left of them--sitting in my kitchen.

But before the recipe let me tell you about my tween obsession with boy bands. Judge all you want, but One Direction is creeping its way up my Most Played list on Itunes. And I am NOT ashamed to admit it. "One Thing" is addicting; it's that one song that will get me in a good mood no matter the circumstances.

Oh and then there's Backstreet Boys and Beiber. Maybe it's my depression with growing old, but I'm obsessed with these songs right now. I'm talking "I Want It That Way" and "Overboard." Seriously, listen to them and tell me otherwise--or don't.

Easy Meringues
Active time: 5 minutes. Total time: 2 hours.

  • 4 egg whites
  • 250 gr. (about 1 1/4 cups) granulated Splenda
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract (although I forgot it and they taste great anyways)
  1. Preheat oven to 210 F; grease a baking sheet and set aside.
  2. Using an electric mixer, beat egg whites until fluffy, about 4 minutes on medium high. Increase to high and beat for another minute. 
  3. Add Splenda and beat until peaks form, about 5-7 minutes on medium high. Increase to high and beat for another minute. Add vanilla extract and beat until incorporated. 
  4. Drop large spoonfuls of batter onto prepared baking sheet and place meringues in oven. Bake, with the oven door propped open using a kitchen towel, until glossy and crisp, about 2 hours. remove from oven and cool completely before storing. Meringues will keep for about a week in an airtight container.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Breakfast for Lunch but not Brunch

So here's the deal. I already know that I'm going to be in a not-so-great a mood this week. It's Sunday, I know, but this whole nice weather for a week only made me ache for summer. And now the cold is back and I'm not liking it.

I know I've said before that I love winter and snow and all that, but when I'm teased with something like last week's high temperatures, sunny days sitting on my roof deck are all I can think of. That said, I will do my best to post frequently this week and maybe that will make the weekend swing by faster.

Anyways, on a more exciting note, I am writing an article for a class about tacos. And when I say tacos I mean the real tacos--soft corn tortilla ones filled with carne asada or al pastor with loads of salsa dripping messily from the sides. I'm writing about my quest to find the most authentic taco in Boston. For this reason, in the next few days I will be consuming more tacos than I have in a very long time, maybe even ever.

Just yesterday, I had three different types of tacos at La Verdad: tinga, carne asada and pescado. The tortillas were perfectly soft and floppy enough to fold over large amounts of diced meat; the carne asada was perfectly seasoned and topped with a zesty guacamole; and the tinga was moist and flavorful. Oh and the salsa. The salsa roja (or rohja as the waitress pronounced it) was delicious. Tasted just like home. Needless to say I found my new favorite restaurant in Beantown.

Moving onto food at home, today I decided to finally try the quinoa pancakes that I bookmarked about a month ago. And I'm glad I did. Breakfast for lunch was yummy. Plus, they're quinoa, so they're healthy right? Enjoy!

Strawberry Quinoa Pancakes (adapted from NYTimes)
Active time: 20 minutes. Total time: 25 minutes
Makes 3-6 pancakes (I made my huge!)

  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 large egg
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1/2 cup cooked quinoa
  • Sliced strawberries, about 1 cup
  1. In a medium bowl, combine flours, baking powder, baking soda and salt. In a separate bowl, whisk egg. Add buttermilk and whisk to combine; then whisk in vanilla extract and canola oil.
  2. Combine fry ingredients with the wet and whisk quickly, but do not over beat, some lumps are fine. Carefully fold in quinoa until just incorporated.
  3. Heat skillet over medium heat. Drop 3-5 tablespoons, depending on the size you want the pancakes to be, and place sliced strawberries on top, pressing lightly. Cook until bubbles start to appear, about 3 minutes; flip pancake and cook for another minute. Remove from heat and serve.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012


Spring is officially here! And I am happy to welcome it.

Sure, this winter was a joke, but come on, who doesn't like bright days and warm weather? I love snow and cold, but nothing beats a sunny day with blue skies decorated only with a few fluffy clouds. And it's not just the weather, it the effects it has on people.

Take yesterday for example. I woke up after a measly six hours of interrupted sleep and the first thing I did was groan. I couldn't stop thinking about going back to Vegas or California--my Spring Break locations--and skipping yet another week of class. But once I stepped outside and took a whiff of the fresh air my mood did a 360.

By noon all I wanted to do was be outside. So much so, that I spent an hour walking around Boston. Literally.

Unfortunately, today was not such a day; the weather was still amazing, but I had class all day long. Boohoo.

But here's to tomorrow and my tanning date! Oh yes I did, I planned a sun-day with a friend since Sunday (when I realized how nice Wednesday would be). Anyways, in my great mood yesterday, I was inspired to make a quick shrimp stir-fry--you know me, warm weather makes me crave shrimp.

Broccoli Slaw & Shrimp Stir Fry
Active time: 10 minutes. Total time: 25 minutes.
Makes 1 serving.

  • 5 medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoon fresh lime juice
  • 1 teaspoon Sriracha sauce
  • Pinch of ginger
  • 1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup sliced baby-bella mushrooms
  • 1 cup broccoli slaw
  • Salt & Pepper
  1. Place shrimp in a Ziploc bag. Add 2 tablespoons soy sauce, 1 tablespoon lime juice, Sriracha and ginger. Season with salt and pepper. Gently shake to mix and chill in refrigerator for 15 minutes.
  2. Heat olive oil in wok over medium-high heat. Add mushrooms and stir-fry for about minute. Add broccoli slaw and remaining soy sauce, lime juice and 2 tablespoons water and continue cooking, stirring occasionally, for about 3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
  3. Add shrimp and marinade to wok and stir-fry until cooked through, about 2 minutes. Serve stir-fry on its own, or over rice.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Spring Veggies

Two days. I am two days away from Spring Break! I can't wait.

Let me tell you what I have planned. Four days in Vegas, at the Venetian--whoop whoop--; four days in Coronado, near the beach; and one Saint Patrick's Day combined with a birthday celebration (not mine) in Boston. I am psyched.

But I still have to get through a long day of classes tomorrow and hours of packing on Friday. Almost there though, almost there--or at least that's what I keep telling myself.

Anyways, before food blogging there is something else I want to talk about. The second issue of TasteBUds is going to print ... drumroll please ... tomorrow! Yes, tomorrow. That adds to my SB excitement, because when I come back I will have 200 copies of the lovely second issue in my hands!

So yeah, I'm excited for the next week and a half. And now here is my dish for the night. It's a simple fennel and artichoke dish, but it's absolutely delicious--if you don't believe me, ask my roommate who ate the half I was saving for later.

Roasted Fennel and Artichoke Hearts (adapted from Martha Stewart)
Active time: 10 minutes. Total time: 40 minutes.

  • 1 fennel bulb, cut into 3/4-inch wedges + 1 tablespoon of the fronds reserved for garnish
  • 1 can whole artichoke hearts in water, drained and cut in half lengthwise
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  • Salt and pepper
  1. Preheat oven to 425 F. Arrange fennel and artichoke pieces on a rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle with 2 tablespoons olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast veggies until caramelized on both sides, about 35 minutes, tossing halfway.
  2. Drizzle with remaining olive oil and lemon juice. Serve and garnish with fennel fronds.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Quick & Easy Breakfast: Frittata

So I woke up this morning feeling rested. Yesterday I felt like I was going to get sick, but this morning it seemed like it might have all been a tease. Turns out I was wrong. Very wrong.

All I want to do is lie in bed and watch TV, read do nothing. Yet I have to study. I have a midterm on Tuesday and a couple of things due before Spring Break--about which I will blog in a future post.

Anyways, it's time to take a break and what better way than to blog about my breakfast from when I was feeling fine. Oh and after this short post, I am putting my pajamas on and (hopefully) crawling into bed.

But before that let me tell you what a big fan I'm of frittatas. They're super easy and quick to make. Also, you can basically add any veggie or herb and play around with the taste; add some cheese and it becomes a heavenly dish. Enjoy!

Bell Pepper & Leek Frittata (adapted from Epicurious)
Makes 4.
Active time: 10 minutes. Total time: 25 minutes.

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 cup sliced bell peppers
  • 1/4 cup sliced leek
  • 4 whole eggs
  • 4 egg whites
  • 1/2 grated swiss cheese
  • 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro + more for garnish
  • Salt and pepper
  1. Preheat oven to 425 F. Spray 4 small cooking dishes or ramekins with cooking spray. 
  2. In a large saucepan, heat oil over medium high heat. Add peppers and leeks and sauteed until slightly browned, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk eggs and whites together. Stir cheese, cilantro and pepper/leeks and mix well. Season with salt and pepper.
  4. Divide into prepared baking dishes and bake until center is firm, about 15 minutes. Serve immediately