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Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Mac n' kitchen sink

Easy twist on classic mac n' cheese. The roasted garlic is what makes it for me, but if you don't want to bother, don't - you can pretty much combine anything with macaroni and béchamel sauce and it'll be good.



1/2 lb. macaroni
1/2 c each frozen peas, spinach (drained) and asparagus tips
7-8 cloves of garlic
1 T butter
2 T flour
1 1/2 (ish) c milk
handful of grated parmesean
pinch cayenne
pinch nutmeg
1/4 t salt
1/4 t pepper

Roast the garlic, smoosh, and set aside. Boil the macaroni according to package directions and set aside (reserve a bit of the pasta water).

Lightly steam the frozen veggies (or put them in the microwave, covered, for a few minutes).

Make a roux with the butter and flour. Allow the flour to cook for a couple minutes, then whisk in the milk, salt, pepper and cayenne. Stir until thick and gravy-fied (this is where the "ish" part of the recipe comes in...measure out 2 c of milk and add what you need until you get the right consistency. If I paid more attention to *actual* measurements during this process I could explain better). Take off heat and add the garlic you roasted earlier. Whisk together and pour mixture (along with reserved pasta water) over macaroni. Give it a stir.

Fold in steamed veggies, add cheese and freshly grated nutmeg. Stir to combine. Taste for seasoning.

Serve with a little extra grated parm on top.

Serves 6-8 as a side dish, or as a main dish for 2 hungry adults, plus enough leftover for lunch the next day, and a few spoonfuls for the dog.

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Haiku Review: China Dynasty

Szechwan style green beans -
the most delicious province
in the dynasty.


Photo by Elijah

Friday, February 17, 2006

Dear Summer,

I miss you.



Thinking of you,
Ashley

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Surly Girl Sassiness

I haven't yet sampled much of the menu at Surly Girl Saloon (at 4th and high), but I must recommend the sasparilla--cheap whisky mixed with really good rootbeer (and a cherry) for just $3.00. While I'm normally picky about my whisky (and frown on mixers beyond a little vermouth), this drink is really tasty. Surly Girl gets a little crowded on Thursday-Saturday nights, so either get there early or go during the early part of the week.

Fun with the internets

Hey everybody, the new design is done and seems pretty stable. I hope you like it. Please let me know if you notice the banner exhibiting any strange behavior, like not showing up, etc., though.

I also installed a site meter so we can see who's visiting our site (you'll be surprised to know it's not just us). I used it just now to discover that Jason's mention of Sriracha hot sauce in his last post brought us a visitor from Technorati. Which led me to this fun chart:

Posts that contain Sriracha per day for the last 30 days.
Technorati Chart

Apparently there was a spike in Sriracha mentions (and usage?) near Valentine's Day. Spicy!

Oh internets, I *heart* you!

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Tofu Scramble

Here's a simple classic from my vegan days...

Ingredients:
One block firm tofu, crumbled
One packet of fantastic foods tofu scrambler mix (available at wild oats or whole foods)
A couple pats of margarine
One can hominy (that's how we do it down south)
1/3 bag of frozen spinach
One package of crimini mushrooms sliced
Several squirts of Sriracha "rooster" hot sauce (available at the many Asian markets on High St. In Clintonville)
A dash of soy milk
Generous helping of nutritional yeast (available at the wild oats or whole foods in the bulk section)
A good bit of cumin
A good bit of garlic powder
A dash of Kosher Salt

Procedures:

1) Saute the mushrooms, hominy, and spinach in margarine for about 3-4 minutes.
2) Add crumbled tofu and stir.
3) When the tofu heats up, add the tofu scrambler mix, hot sauce, cumin, garlic powder, and salt. Stir to combine and then saute for another 3-4 minutes.
4) Take off heat. Add nutritional yeast and dash of soy milk. Stir.
5) Serve with toast or with tortillas. Drizzle a little hot sauce on top for presentation.

P.S. I love the new design, courtesy of Ashley.

Love Unlimited

Ben and I usually don't make a big deal out of V-day, but then again, I never pass up an opportunity to express my love for others in chocolate form.

So, yesterday I decided to try the Dark Chocolate Mousse recipe from the most recent issue of Cook's Illustrated*. I'm happy to say it was a success and surprisingly easy. Really!



Probability that recipient of mousse will want
to make sweet love to you immediately: 99%

I was a little nervous that my lack of experience in the whipping/folding/tempering arts would prove disastrous, but as I said, it was truly easy. And quick. The quality of the ingredients is what makes it sooo good - bittersweet chocolate, heavy cream and Dutch-process cocoa powder, to name a few. Sounds a little...heavy..., I know, but it's actually a lot lighter and less stomach-churningly rich than a lot of mousse recipes out there that incorporate butter and lots of eggs yolks.

So, try it - now that I have my mousse legs, there will be many more to come.

*It's a long recipe, so I didn't feel like typing it all out here. You'll have to sign up for the free trial to access the recipe, (or ask me and I'll email it to you). Or, why don't you just sign up for a year of Cook's? It's fantastically awesome, anyway.