Friday, March 24, 2006

The Mitzva of Tashbito; or; 2 Weeks of Carboloading

Hippogirl is eating: Nothing right now

Pesach is upon me, and my large tupperware canisters filled with half bags of flour, bulgur wheat, and pasta have all got to go. If I were of Ashkenaz descent, I could just cordon off my pantry and sell it in this crazy psuedosale trick that we have called Mehriat Hametz... Imagine selling your house for a week, but locking it up so that nobody can use it! Ok, so its not "yours", but really....

Anyway, I'm getting rid of as much grain products as is humanly possible. I made challah to take to shabbos meals, cake to bring to parties, soba noodles with pesto and parmesan cheese to feed to Hippoboy. I made a bulgur wheat pilaf and a bulgur wheat lentil dish. I poured the last of the vanilla vodka over last week's chocolate strawberry cake, which was a big hit. I dripped the last few drops of coconut extract into my coffee this morning.

I've still got a good bit of flour left, but no yeast, so making bread to bring places is out of the Q. I'm thinking of making a cobbler to bring to school, or some muffins, or a healthy quick bread or cake. That'll take care of the rest of my vanilla extract too. Bringing things to YU is a surefire way to get them eaten. I once left an entire pudding cake on the first floor of the library and it was demolished in minutes.

As far as the rest goes... A liter of soy sauce was probably not a smart purchase 3 weeks ago. That I'll just try to give away. The last box of noodles, I'll probably eat this week, and try to make another lentil pilaf to take for lunches. I'm probably going to end up throwing out the gluten, as there is nothing I can really do with that other than make bread. I've got a lone package of gruenkern (green wheat kernels) that I am loath to throw out because I got them at LI Glatt before they closed, and because I have no idea what to do with them. The non-instant oatmeal is gone, I have a few bowls of shredded wheat left for breakfasts, as well as about 10 packets of instant oatmeal that I will valiantly attempt to eat. Not all at once, of course. Curves is having a food drive starting April 1, so I'll try to unload some stuff on them.

Oh yeah, I've also got a pint of Ben and Jerry's lite cookie dough ice cream, but I don't think getting rid of that is going to be too hard...

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Now it's a side dish; Now it's a soup!

Hippogirl is drinking: Strawberry tea

Having previously roasted two (and that was one too many!) butternut squashes for shabbos, I was left with a squashy problem. Take the leftovers for a nebulous lunch which might or might not happen? Or turn them into soup? Since I'm always looking for an opportunity to use my immersion blender, the soup won out. I chopped up the remainder of a 1-lb bag of carrots from a few weeks ago (erm, 4 perhaps?) with a large onion and about a third of a head of celery and a few garlic cloves. I sauteed these in just a very small bit of olive oil and added the peeled squash and a healthy quantity of water. Now, remembering that the squash was initally flavored with garam masala (which is like a sweeter, more pumpkin-pieish variation of curry powder), I knew I could either go sweet or savory with the seasonings, and I chose savory. Sweet is good in fruit soup only in my opinion. I added regular curry powder, some hot hungarian paprika, and a good bit of salt and pepper, and possibly a bit more garam masala. Then I let it cook untill all the veggies were cooked and then pureed with my trusty immersion blender. Voila, butternut squash soup conjured from leftovers. Only I'd let the onions color so the soup was browner than the lovely orange I had envisioned. But still, all in all, not bad.

Friday, March 17, 2006

Roasting Things

Hippogirl is drinking- homemade iced coffee (presspot, stuck in the fridge) with fat free milk, vanilla extract, and splenda.

So my roomie is making Shabbos lunch and since our purim activities sort of made it difficult to focus on planning for Shabbos, Hippoboy and I are joining in. This is rather rare, as usually, we switch off hosting meals in our apt. Should be lots of fun.

She's making: Chicken roasted on a bed of grains (originally it was rice pilaf but there wasnt enough to cover the whole roasting pan so I had the idea of cooking up some bulghur wheat to mix with the rice,)- I think she is seasoning the chicken with fennel, orange peel, lemon and orange juices, garlic, ginger, and some other things. It looks delicious. And Deli Roll- which, due to the nature of our filo dough, which is decidedly unpliable due to being in the freezer too long, is going to turn into a deli casserole instead.

I'm making: Roasted green beans and Roasted butternut squash. Now, my basic techinique with roasting veggies is to cut them up, blast the oven to 450 or 425, dribble on some olive oil, salt, spices and/or herbs, and pop it in the oven. I got a little more elaborate with these.

Green beans- i had a whole big bag of frozen green beans which i opened and poured into the pan with about half a head of slivered garlic. I poured on some olive oil, soy sauce, honey, and balsamic vinegar. I panicked when i tasted this because it tasted really harsh and vinegary. But then I remembered that acetic acid will vaporize readily. So its all good. And I roasted till the top ones were shrively. I like a mix of really crispy and brown and some still sort of green and fresh when I roast greeny veggies. Very delicious.

Squash- I had a few drips of toasted sesame oil that I wanted to use, so i dribbled that over the squash and a few shakes of garam masala powder, salt, and sugar, because this squash was very a very pale orange inside and I did not think it looked so optimal. Then I thought that the sesame smell was very overwhelming, so I cut it with some regular olive oil. Its roasting now, so I guess we will see.

My Challah is also in the oven.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Best... Purim... Ever!

Hippo girl is currently eating: Low fat mashed red bliss potatoes

So I woke up blearily 10 minutes before the scheduled start of the Women's Megillah Reading, pulled on a college sweatshirt and a jeanskirt over my pajama pants and decided to call it a "stressed college girl" costume. The reading was excellent, and very very beautiful. I was suprised how many other girls copped my costume idea though.

I went back home and took the bread dough (for my special purim breads, see shabboscooking for more details and pix!) that had been rising in the fridge, punched it down, and let it start rising again while I went out and delivered last night's batch.

Most of the rest of the day was spent making up that batch, (a 10 cup recipe, by the way, and a little hard on the wrists...) shaping, glazing, baking, wrapping, etc. My own eating was curtailed (mostly out of business) to some plain yogurt with honey on top, a hardboiled egg with salt and pepper, some sliced beets with balsamic vinegar; all little tiny portions grabbed on the fly, and a bag of alexia baked fries (oops... but I did share these (sort of...) with my roomie and her fiancee.

After getting the last batch of breads ready to go and putting the finishing touches on my vanilla-vodka-chocolate-cake (really a simple chocolate cake soaked in home-infused vanilla vodka, just split open 2 vanilla beans and soak them in a pint bottle of premium vodka for 3 weeks) I met up with Hippoboy (my lovely and wonderful significant other), who suprised me with a giant chocolate hamentaschen and a bottle of wine, and then a latte when I growled that I hadn't had any coffee yet.

We set off to the festive meal, which was a cooperative food effort, with such varied offerings as steak salad with pesto dressing (v yummy!), spiced carrot muffins, which hippoboy and I dipped into our wine to fulfill the "hayyav inish l'bisumei" aspect of drinking on Purim, roasted cauliflower, etc etc. Of course, I brought my vodka cake and a large edition of my special purim bread.

Hippoboy and I then wandered around delivering a few more mishloah manot, then looked for a mincha minyan, then wandered back to our neighborhood, where we discovered a delightful drink, hard pear cider! I like hard pear cider or hard apple cider very much. It is like moscato but drier and less sickening. Then I decided to make a big pot of mashed potatoes so I could easily put up a shepherds pie tomorrow with some frozen beef/veggie mix that I made from a beef stock setup. Of course, I had to taste a bit (ok, a bowl) to see if they were yummy enough. Hippoboy departed, and now, its time to initiate my sleepysequence.

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Attack of the Hungry Hungry Hippo Girl!

I am a girl of many faces. Sometimes I learn Talmud. Sometimes I am a BIT (Biologist in Training!). But all of the time, I cook, eat, and plan about food. When my planning goes awry and I am left with nothing to eat or even nothing very substantive, I turn into a mythical creature also known as....


This blog is about the food I like to cook, eat, and feed to other people.
Oh, and by the way, this is not a "diet blog" or a "food anxiety blog" or an "I-hate-my-body blog" although you might occasionally hear me say stuff that sounds like that. FYI, I am a very happy, healthy, pretty girl and I have no complaints on that score. I just try to make healthy food that centers on a variety of veggies, whole grains, fruits, dairy, and lean protiens. And, of course, that tastes yummy.