Damage Control Dinner: Spiced and Roasted Vegetables and Tofu

Last weekend was, well, delicious. But after spending three days eating my roommate’s amazing Persian cooking, brunching at Sarabeth’s, midnight snacking, and splitting two “fishbowls” of unknown contents with friends, on Monday I was in serious need of some diet damage control. But here’s the thing — I’m not the kind of person who can follow a weekend of good food with nothing but vegetables. I just end up feeling snacky later and seeking out junk food. So my idea of damage control is: buy whatever produce looks delicious. Roast it up with some tofu for protein and a ton of spices for flavor. Eat and enjoy for the next few days (this recipe tastes even better as leftovers — after a few days in the fridge, the flavors of the vegetables blend together and the spices intensify.)

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More Recipes to Try!

Resolved: I really have to stop checking food blogs so often. Or at least cut back on the number of blogs I read. Because between the last three recipe posts, I think I’ve accumulated more than enough recipes to last me the semester. And I haven’t even started on any of the recipes from the last post! Anyway, here’s a few more recipes that will hopefully show up on the blog at some point in the near future:

Chicken

* Perfect Roasted Chicken

* Calypso Chicken

* Moroccan Lemon Chicken with Olives

* Thai Chicken and String Beans

* Stir Fried Chicken with Broccoli, Red Peppers, and Cashews

Rice

* Butternut Squash Risotto

Soups

* Pumpkin Turkey Chili

* Tomato Egg Drop Soup (making this for dinner this weekend)

Cupcakes

* Red Velvet Cupcakes

* Carrot Cake Cupcakes with Cardamom Cream Cheese Frosting

* Honeysuckle and Jasmine Cupcakes

Cookies

* Chewy Maple Cookies (for care packages!)

* Chai Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

* Red Velvet Black and White Cookies

Pies and Tarts

* Nutella and Berry Pie with Chocolate Pretzel Crust (for Centennial Scholars dinner!)

Puddings

* Ginger Brown Rice Pudding

Cakes

* Gluten-Free Pumpkin Spice Cake (for Rachel!)

BYO Lunch: Turkey Wraps

This is gonna be a quick post, because I want to get to bed soon, but here’s what I took to my internship with me for my first week of work. It’s a pretty basic wrap, filled with roasted turkey, caramelized onions (raw onions would also have tasted good, but I didn’t want stank breath on the job), cucumbers, lettuce, and honey mustard. And cheese. Which I later took out because, whoa, overkill…

Step 1: Heat oil in a skillet. Add onions and sauté until they become floppy and golden brown.

Step 2: Lay out your wrap. Spread with a generous shmear of honey mustard.

Step 3: Add greens.

Step 4: Add sliced cucumbers, for crunch.

Step 5: Now is the time to pile on some roasted turkey, or whatever your preferred lunch meat may be.

Step 6: Top it all off with the onions (ignore the cheese).

Now here’s the tricky part — folding the wrap. There are tons of YouTube videos that explain how to do this, but I honestly couldn’t get the hang of it and ended up rolling everything up and then smushing it into a Ziploc bag. Oh well. It still tasted good.

Breakfast of Champions: Cottage Cheese and Figs

I’ll admit, I wasn’t always the biggest fan of cottage cheese. I’m still kind of weirded out by the lumpiness, but this morning I put my unease aside in order to eat these fresh figs with a bowl of cc.

Yup, fresh figs! On the east coast! They’re in season! They’re cheap! They’re delicious! But only for the next week or so, so get a carton while it’s still worth it. Out of season figs taste kind of grainy and weird, so you’re better off just getting dried ones.

The tartness of the cottage cheese pairs nicely with the sometimes cloying sweetness of the figs. But if you’re used to sugary cereals and want a little more of a sugar rush in the morning, you can add a dollop of honey or sauté the figs in their juices — you can then pour the caramelized fig syrup over the cottage cheese and chunks of fresh fig. Yum.

Huh. Cottage cheese with chunks of fresh fig with and figgy syrup. I think I might have just determined tomorrow’s breakfast. Off to sauté some figs!

How to Frost a Cake, with Meg Ray

The Miette video was just so cute, I had to look up more on Miette’s founder and head chef, Meg Ray. And that was how I found this video on how to correctly frost a cake! Looks like a lot of extra work, but I think it might be worth it if it results in a cake that looks like it’s from a gourmet bakery.

EDIT: Huh. Turns out there are like a bajillion ways to “do it all wrong” in cooking. And learning how to do it right is kind of addicting. I’ve been watching these videos all night; after the jump, find out how to make grilled cheese, matzoh balls, stir-fry, crepes, gnocchi, and learn how to eat sushi.

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More new recipes!

I just keep finding more of them! Here’s what I’m hoping to prepare sometime within the next few weeks. Also, you guys can look forward to some long overdue posts on quick salads, turkey wraps, my last dinner at home, and a sweet video from a San Francisco bakery, which will be up….whenever I find the time to post. So like, next weekend?

Breakfast

Sunday Morning Oatmeal

Rose Granola

Treats

Cinnamon Blondies

Red Wine Chocolate Cake

No Bake Chocolate Cake

Cardamom Honey Caramel Pears

Brown Sugar Cookies

Fish

Salmon with Deconstructed Romesco Sauce

Red Meat

Coconut Mint Lamb Curry

Sandwiches

Roasted Tomato Lentil Salad with Crispy Shallots

Snacks

Crispy Penne

Vegetarian

Chickpea Curry

Roasted Eggplant with Tomatoes and Mint

Slapdash Dinner: Garbage Soup, Take 1

One of the great, great things about having roommates who cook is coming home to an apartment that smells amazing. The other night, I walked in the door and was immediately struck by the scent of something vegetable-y wafting deliciously from the kitchen. “What are you making?” I asked my suitemate, Rachel. “It smells so good!”

“Oh, it’s just garbage soup!” she exclaimed. “It’s so easy to make, you literally just take whatever you have in the fridge and let it simmer for a really long time.”

With that in mind, and using a recipe for something called a yoga pot (whatever this dish is, it seems to have multiple awesome names) as a template, I set to work making my own version. I don’t have any process pictures, because you really just dump everything into a pot and let it simmer, but (very loosely interpretable) instructions are under the cut.

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Epic Brunch at the Original Pancake House

This was yesterday’s brunch. Actually, it was the only meal I ate yesterday, because holy shit this thing was HUGE. I wouldn’t even call it an omelet, it was like a heavenly poori-like cloud oozing with cheese, jalapeno, onion, tomatoes, and perfectly spicy salsa verde. And it came with a side of buckwheat pancakes, which were possibly even more amazing.

I’m sorry, you may not have fully appreciated that statement, so I’ll repeat myself. Pancakes! As a side! Why doesn’t every restaurant do this?!?

In fact, there were a lot of things about The Original Pancake House in Fort Lee that embodied my ideal diner experience. First of all, 90% of the menu is breakfast. Of that 90%, probably 60% is some form of pancake or crepe or waffle. And if you decide you’re not really in the mood for pancakes, well, too bad. Because every other item on the menu comes with a SIDE OF PANCAKES (have I mentioned how excited I am about this idea?). The pancakes themselves vary from the traditional (buttermilk, banana, blueberry, sourdough) to the incredibly unique (coconut, bacon, red velvet). And a whole plate of pancakes only costs between $6-8!

The omelets are slightly more expensive (mine cost $12), but that doesn’t seem as pricey when you consider that they’re made with 5-6 eggs each. The omelets are baked instead of fried, giving them a dense, puffy shape. It’s an impressive trick that I might try next time I’m making a fancy brunch. Which, if all goes according to plan, will hopefully be some time next weekend.

Aside from enjoying a memorable meal and learning a new cooking trick, one of the best parts of this visit is the seemingly inexhaustible leftovers. I got to eat leftovers for breakfast this morning. And I have yet more leftovers for tomorrow. I’m actually considering just rationing leftovers until I can make a return trip, so I’ll never have to do without this crazy omelet creation. Excessive? Probably. But at a place like this, excessive is kind of the point.