Wednesday, June 4, 2014

I guess I'm the only one that doesn't like corn on the cob

And it's not like I dislike corn on the cob. I'm more indifferent about it. 

I also know I'm not the ONLY one that doesn't care for it...but no one on the Internet seems to share my lack of interest in the vegetable (or so some of you consider it a grain/carb)

So. I contribute to bountiful baskets (if you don't know about it I suggest you check out their website) and somehow obtained 12 ears of corn. Every time I had people over I asked if they would like some, everyone always declined, saying they don't really eat corn. 

Well GI Joe and I don't really eat corn either. So I was stuck with 12 ears of corn. And whenever I googled recipes for leftover corn, all the blogs and recipes started with a story on their family LOVES corn on the cob and it's rare if ever they have leftover corn. Well friends, this is not one of those stories. 

I don't mind corn in things, like corn salsa or corn fritters or corn in my chili. But plain corn is a little....blah. 

So I grilled all my corn and froze it for another day. 

Here's how I roast. Now I've seen some recipes say you soak the husks for hours then throw them on the grill. That sounds more like using the grill for steaming. I've also heard of putting the corn straight on the grill, no husks. My experience with that is some kernels dry out before the rest is done. So here's how I grill my corn

First turn on your grill and set it to low (or heat coals for you energy wasteful people)

Then throw your corn on the grill. Husks and all, no need to soak. 


Then let them cook and char. 


If they flame up, just close the lid and let the flame go out on its own. 

You know the corn is done when the outsides are burnt to a crisp. 

These are not quite done (for my taste) but they are done enough that the corn inside will be hot and cooked. Personally, I like it when the skin is so burned it puts nice char marks on the corn inside. 

But I accidentally took these off too early (it's been a while since I cooked corn because I don't like it, remember)


When I dehusked, I had some bright yellow corn underneath. 

Warning: there cobs were hot and I had to let them cool a bit before I could husk them. Or dehusk? Do those words mean the same thing? Like flammable and inflammable?

I actually husked them with oven gloves because I was too excited to let it cool.  

Because I like char marks I threw them back on the grill on high to get some marks but not long enough to dry them out. 


Then I took them inside and sliced the kernels off with my mandolin 


Then I froze some and turned some into salsa for dinner. 

I also froze the cobs because I can throw those in when I cook stock or give them to the dog for an icy treat. 

If anyone needs some corn, let me know, you can have some of mine. 






Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Leftover Mashed Potato Gnocchi (no egg)


We recently had Thanksgiving in the Paolilli home. Yes, in May. No, there was no football. Why? A better question should be why not! What's better than a random excuse to feast all day?

After Thanksgiving, we had some leftover mashed potstoes. Ok a lot of leftover mashed potstoes. I decided to make gnocchi and I recently discovered a new method that makes it so fast and easy my mind was blown. 

The first time I made gnocchi (gnocchi is potato pasta) it took me a better part of 2 hours rolling the individual noodles. I took a little teaspoon worth of dough, rolled it in my hands, smooshed it with a fork. 1 down, a giant ball of dough left to go. 

Then I discovered rolling the dough into snakes first, and cutting them into the proper sized pieces. Keep reading because the method I just discovered is easier than that. 



Ingredients:
Leftover mashed potatoes (skin off, well mashed works best. It doesn't matter if you slathered the potstoes in cream and butter. I've done this recipe with leftover butternut squash soup and it still worked fine)
Flour, about 1 cup for every 2 cups of potatoes plus more for kneading.
That's it. Just 2 ingredients. 

First throw a cup of flour onto your board or a clean counter. This is one of the few recipes I recommend mixing by hand over a stand mixer. How do I know? Because I tried it with a stand mixer and it's just harder.


Then throw down your 2 cups of mashed potatoes. 


And start mixing...with your hands. Don't worry, gnocchi won't bite. 


Until you get it into a nice ball of dough


Then, you need to test the moisture content. If you use wheat flour (which I did) you'll probably need more flour. If your potatoes are really soggy (or if you're using butternut squash soup) you'll need more flour. The test for moisture is easy. Pinch off a little piece and roll it into a ball. 


Then try to roll it on a fork. 

If it looks like gnocchi should, you're good! If it squished into a mess, you need more flour. 


Mine squished into a mess. I added more flour (4 tbsp today) kneaded it in gently and tried the moisture test again 


Ah! Perfect gnocchi! If you're having trouble rolling your gnocchi, try your non dominant thumb. I noticed my left thumb works better than my right thumb. Or watch a bunch of videos so you can see what I'm talking about. 

Here's where your mind gets blown. So now you have a giant ball of dough and you need to turn it into several tiny little balls. 

Get out your rolling pin and roll the dough into roughly a rectangle shape, about 1/2 to 3/4 inch thick. 


Then take out your giant pizza cutter and cut the dough into strips, about 1/2 to 3/4 inch strips. 


You don't own an awesome giant pizza cutter? Well go buy one. It will change your life. Or don't buy one, you can use a knife or a regular pizza cutter too, it just won't be as fun. 

Then you barely roll your strips into snakes. This part is really done just to even out any uniformity issues if you can't cut even strips. 


Line your snakes up, and cut them again 


At this point I roll my individual cubes on a fork. I don't worry about rolling it into a ball again. If you're really lazy you can just push a divot into each one with your finger. 

Then, you can boil them in hot water (well that was a waste of a word. Of course it's going to be hot water if you're boiling it) and throw it together with your favorite sauce. Enjoy your dinner. 

I'm going to freeze mine. It's important you space them out in a cookie sheet first. Awe! They look like a bunch of cute baby caterpillars.


Actually, they're pretty honking huge to be baby caterpillars. :\

This will prevent clumping in the freezer and makes cooking them later much easier. 

After they are hard on the outside (an hour or so. Or overnight if you forget about them) put them into a freezer bag. I made enough gnocchi to fill 2-quart size bags. 


Baby caterpillars in their cocoons? 






Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Oh My Gosh So Yummy!!

So. Clearly I don't think anyone is ever going to look for things based on my post titles. What is so yummy? For all you know it could be some vegan-gluten free food....which basically sounds like rabbit food. 

And if you thought that, you'd be correct!!!

I was looking for a recipe to use up some rice. Normally this isn't a problem. I'm Asian and I love rice. Except I cooked some...uh...how do I say this without saying racist....I cooked American rice? Like "easy to cook" rice. Anyway. I think it's gross. 

I decided to make stuffed cabbage. All the recipes I found require making stuffed cabbage with uncooked rice (and it plumps in the oven) but I had leftovers. So I made my own creation. 

I'd also like to preface the following by saying I've never had stuffed cabbage. Not once. So I don't know what it's supposed to taste like. I also didn't follow any recipe I found. Although this food is tasty, it's not authentic. I don't even know what country makes stuffed cabbage. I also didn't measure. I just threw stuff in that I had and eyeballed things. 

Anyway. First boil some water and throw your cabbage in there. I tore off the leaves on about half a head of cabbage. I didn't do the whole thing because I didn't know if I'd like it. So boil the cabbage until it turns color, it'll get a little translucent. 

I also boiled 1 cup of lentils in a separate pot. I don't really know how long to cook lentils. I probably cooked them for 7 minutes and left them on the stove in ht water for another 5 minutes? They were soft but not mushy. Still held their shape very easily. 

Then I put the following in a bowl:

My lentils, probably 1 cup worth of dried uncle bens brand rice....does that make 2 cups cooked? The little orange/yellow/red colored peppers. I think I chopped up 10? So. That's maybe  1-2 bell peppers worth? (I'm so sorry if anyone is actually trying to follow this recipe. I don't measure. I eyeball and adjust by taste) 4 cloves of garlic minced. A good shake of: black pepper, salt, dried oregano, dried parsley, red pepper, paprika (lots of paprika). I somehow obtained cilantro paste (I don't recommend purchasing it, because it's preserved with salt and sugar so it doesn't taste like fresh cilantro) I out a healthy squirt of that in too. The tube says it contains 3 bunches worth. If that's true I probably added a bunch of cilantro. A solid glug of extra virgin olive oil and juice of one lemon. Oh, and a teensy bit of sugar. You know how in deserts you need a little salt to make the sugary flavor come out, I figured I needed a little sugar to make the salty/savory of this come out. 

Then it looked like this (after mixing)

That picture looks a little blurry :(

Then I stuffed my cabbage the same way I would roll an egg roll. (Never eaten these before, never made them before, so I don't know if there is a proper technique to doing this. I also had a lot of ripped cabbage and I rolled them too, holes and all)


Scooped as much filling as possible into the cabbage. 



Fold in the sides


Roll from the bottom up to make a little egg roll looking thing. 

I poured more olive oil into an baking dish and put my cabbage in there. 


Then I poured the juice of a lime on top and more olive oil. 


Why yes, I do use a lime juicer for a lemon. Because the lemon juicer I bought is awful so I went to San Antonio, where I know people need their juicers on a daily basis and found this very good working lime juicer. The lemons are a little big but I make it work. 

And then...(isn't the suspense killing you) I covered the whole thing in foil and put it into a preheated 375 degree oven for about 45 minutes. Oh! Did I forget to tell you to preheat your oven?  Go back to step one and turn on your oven. 

Normally, you're supposed to slather these things in sauce, add some extra water, and other measures to make sure there's enough liquid to make the dry rice cook in the oven. I forwent all extra liquids. I didn't serve them with tomato sauce. 

They're so yummy I ate them before I could take an after photo. 

They kind of look like the before photo, only a little more color is in the cabbage leaves. 

Gluten free, vegan free, mama c friendly, BAM! 

Some other notes: I made WAY too much filling for my cabbage. I had a smallish cabbage and only used half the leaves. I also seasoned the filling a little more than I would've liked had I been making a rice pilaf. I figured the flavors would meld in the oven, and they did. 

It's so delicious I want to try out a bunh of cabbage recipes, ones with meat too. 

I made some soup

Butternut squash soup. Vegetarian/vegan mama c friendly butternut squash soup. 

I lied D: it's neither vegetarian not vegan. And it's not even soup!!!!  

Let me start over. 

I was blessed with a bounty of butternut squash, but I didn't know what to do with them. 



See how cute ^.^ 

I scoured the Internet, looking for the best recipes and I came across butternut squash spaghetti. Basically, it's spaghetti with a squash sauce, and I happened to have most of the ingredients in my house. 

I have no pictures of trying to cook the thing, because I wasn't going to blog about it. 

But basically, you cut and boil a medium sized squash. Take it out and boil noodles in the same water you boiled the squash. Then mash/blend the squash. In a deep sided pan, melt some butter (this is why mine is technically not vegan, but I could've subbed out margarine and been fine) and sauté some sage. I didn't have sage. So I added some poultry seasoning which has sage in it. Then add the squash and vegetable broth (I used chicken broth, which is why mine also isn't vegetarian...) you add enough vegetable broth to make the consistency the way you like it and add salt and pepper to taste (I added garlic salt). 



Then, you add your noodles to sauce and enjoy. Well guess what, I didn't enjoy. I thought it was weird and I felt like I was wasting spaghetti eating it. The more I tried my butternut spaghetti, I wanted traditional spaghetti.  

So that's what I did. 

I made regular spaghetti. 

And I tried my squash sauce and determined it made a better soup than a sauce. I think it'll be good with some toast. Or a sandwich. Nom nom. 

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Mama C food!

So I want to start doing something new. I have a friend (we will call her Mama C...which is actually what I call her in real life) who is on a very restrictive diet, it's basically vegan-gluten free. And she's been having some difficulty thinking of what to make for dinner that isn't vegetable soup. 

I said to myself, "self....how hard is it to modify what you cook into vegan, vegetarian, or even gluten free vegan foods?" Well...I don't really know, but I'm willing to find out. 

I probably won't be posting recipes (maybe if I get more adventurous and better with my time management skills) but it'll serve more as a meal-idea reference that Mama C can utilize whenever she's stuck thinking of what to make for dinner. I might put some cooking tips, but not step by step measured out recipes. Let's be honest here, I never really measure my food anyway I just eyeball things and taste it to see what it needs. But anyway....I'll label it "vegan food substitutes" for easy future referencing....and one day I might write a cook book about it. 


This is what I made for dinner tonight:
Brown rice
Shirazi salad- cucumbers, onions, tomatoes, mint, lime juice, salt, olive oil
Tzaziki-(there are many variations of this) Greek yogurt, mint, lemon juice, garlic, shredded cucumber (I shred my cucumber on a cheese grater then strain it. It helps get extra water out so my tzaziki isn't a watery gross mess)
Chicken asparagus stuff-pan fried chicken breast with asparagus, tomatoes, olive oil, Mrs Dash original, garlic salt. 

To make it Mama C friendly:
Sub quinoa for brown rice 
Shirazi can stay the same 
Tzaziki should be made with a dairy-free substitute. I hear they make soy yogurt, coconut yogurt and almond yogurt these days. If the yogurt consistency is more watery than Greek yogurt, you can put it in cheese cloth and let it drain overnight to get some extra moisture out. (You can even do that with regular yogurt)
The chicken thingy was actually created so I could use up some stuff in my fridge (like most of my recipes). You could remove the chicken and just have asparagus and tomatoes or you can add whatever hearty vegetables you like: zucchini, mushrooms, eggplant, or even tofu if you like that kind of stuff. 


...and that's the end for today....

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Sleepovers

I love sleepovers. Even as an adult when GI Joe is in the field I try to have a sleepover. 

Someone clearly HATES them....


Brecken...play nice. The bed is big enough for both of you. 

Thursday, August 22, 2013

I lied!!!

I didn't post daily. 

To make it up I have some new photos  

So...we are dog sitting a dog (another one...I know) and the owner claims it hates men. Turns out its just for show. He just "pretends" to growl and bark and hate men when his owner is around. But when she's gone....



They're twinsies!!!