Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Cooking with Fruit

I've been having a cooking with fruit obsession lately. I think some of it has to do with the fact that fruit is abysmal during the winter that I want the sweetness of it without having to eat sub par fruit. The Pedant and I were in Costco this weekend and found a GIANT bag of apples at a fairly good price. The apples aren't bad - they have some brown spots - but how many apples can a girl eat?! I want me some cantaloupe, peaches, nectarines, pineapple, grapes, and more!

So what have I been doing with said fruit? I have put oranges in salads (a trick I learned from eating a salad at a Lebanese restaurant). I made a wheat berry salad with cabbage from Bittman and took his advice and added in an apple. And this morning, I made myself my new favorite omelet.

[Begin Back Story]

In November, I was in Cambridge, MA for a wedding of a dear, dear friend, Smel. Smel's wedding began at 11 and TP and I needed to get breakfast someplace. Another dear, dear friend, RGM, was staying in the hotel with us and using a combo of her trusty iPhone and wily skills, took us to Zaftig's. We got there early and were seated immediately. (That seems to be a rarity because when we left at 10 there was already a line out the door.) Zaftig's immediately brought me back to the Jewish delis/diners of my youth and I had an incredible omelet made with a lot of cheddar cheese and an apple. I thought it was the perfect combination ad instantly fell in love with the omelet. I tried to recreate it once, which worked out really well. TP made a great suggestion: saute the apples first.

[End Back Story]

I decided to take TP's advice and saute the apples. I was a bit too guilty to do it in butter, but I bet that would have been great. I made some additions. First, I chopped up a few tablespoons of red onion and sauteed them in cooking spray. Then I added a chopped up apple and some salt and let it cook. I then put in a few handfuls of baby spinach and let that wilt to perfection. I took the fruit and veggies out of the pan and cooked up some egg beaters. I then put in a few cubes of reduced-fat cheddar and let that get melty. I added in my filling which was waaaaaay too much for the omelet, but warmed everything together and attempted to fold the omelet. It came out PERFECTLY. A cheesy, sweet/salty combo that made my day.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Indian Feast!

For dinner last night, The Pedant and I decided to make some Indian food complete with leftovers for lunches. It's been a while since we've cooked from the best curry book ever, so we decided to rectify the situation. We made a potato with spinach curry and an eggplant-chili stir fry curry. The potato curry was fantastic - it had new potatoes, spinach, tomatoes, garlic and dried chilies and turned out really well. It was spicy, but not overwhelming and flavor full. The eggplant was spectacular. We stir fried french-fry style slices in a VERY spicy mixture with chilies, lime juice, lime zest, salt, garlic and cilantro, added tomatoes and then let get very tender. It was immensely flavorful. I even needed some Greek yogurt (which I found a GIANT tub for cheaps at Costco! SCORE!!! Especially with a $3 pineapple. May not be super organic/local, but very tasty! I figure rejoining a CSA will balance that out, right??) and the wild rice blend we made to make it edible. But it was super good.

For lunch, we met some friends at the Lost Dog Cafe. We all has some really great sandwiches. I got the veggie, which had guacamole (although not enough to satisfy this avocado lover), zucchini and broccoli on a pita with provolone cheese melted on top. TP got some really tasty fries which I had. It was a great lunch. Plus, the restaurant does great things for dogs! Hooray!

Tonight is a vegetarian pot-au-feu from the slow cooker. I will also make a Bittman Wheat Berry salad for some lunches. We had very good wheat berry salad at TP's parents' Friday night and we have some leftovers of it, but both of us really enjoy wheat berries. They have plenty of healthy benefits and make a great addition to salads.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Snowy Breakfast

Since I have (yet another) snow day from work, I made my new favorite breakfast. It's a bit odd, and I don't know why I feel in love with it but I did, nor do I know what made me want to make it in the first place. It's whole wheat pita, sliced apple and hummus. And it's DELICIOUS. Basically, I toast a frozen whole wheat pita and slice up an apple. I then make little sandwiches (I'm sure I could do a big sandwich, but I like playing with my food) with the apple slices and hummus. And it's really good. I get fruit and protein in one meal! I've had it like 3 days this week (since I have time for breakfast). I do feel a bit like Zohan.

The Pedant made himself a barley breakfast where he cooked barley, melted some cheddar cheese, added some whole-grain dijon mustard and some chopped walnuts. He really enjoyed it.

Now we both have mugs of tea and are watching the snow fall down while doing work.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Snow Prep

As I'm sure you've hear, dear reader, the DC area has been dumped with snow this weekend. The Pedant and I were somewhat prepared since we bought lots of food last week. Therefore, I think we were the only ones in the city who didn't spend Thursday night in line at a supermarket. We were snowed in a bit, but thanks to living in a somewhat urban area, we ordered in Chinese food Friday evening and had Ben and Jerry's from the little store in our building. Now that's what I call surviving a snow storm!

We made some pasta and a salad for dinner Saturday evening and by Sunday were able to venture out to TP's parents for an amazing Red Beans and Rice dinner (in honor of New Orleans in the Super bowl). I took a copy of the recipe and will eventually blog about it I'm sure.

Today, TP went to work while I stayed home and did some cleaning. I made a new favorite lunch: pasta with edamame in a sauce of miso, ginger, ponzu, mirin and a touch of sesame oil. It's really easy and very good. I ventured out to the supermarket which was quite bare. I came up with some ideas for food for the week (since we're probably getting another snow storm tomorrow) and a few ideas were thwarted since there was very little food left in the store. Good thing I didn't want milk...I did want onions but settled for shallots.

I took advantage of some free time this afternoon to make some pizza dough. I used Bittman's whole wheat recipe which was great (we made it once before) and doubled it to freeze. I made a bit of a mistake when I did a double batch in the food processor - it came out much gluier than I had hoped. I think it will be fine though. I used about 1/4 of the whole thing (1/2 of a regular recipe) and made a REALLY AMAZING pizza tonight. First, I put sun dried tomatoes and some roasted garlic (which I cooked in some EVOO and then reused the extra oil for the soup I'l describe next paragraph) into the crust which I found out worked before. Then, TP and I sauteed some shallot, garlic and portobello mushroom (all they had left today...I wanted baby bella or cremini...) and put it on top of the crust. I added a bit of a granny smith apple that was on it's way out plus some walnuts and a bunch of Gorgonzola cheese. I baked it for about 12 minutes and it came out PERFECTLY. Really, really great.

I made a minestrone soup with the few veggies left in the store: carrots, parsnip, zucchini, canned tomatoes, kidney beans and some mini bowtie pasta. I ended up adding in more water than I originally intended but it came out well and now we have 3 containers frozen which will make for great lunches in the future. I let the soup really thicken up and get all flavorful thanks to the pasta and the beans.

For dessert, we had Ben and Jerry's light ice cream (I sometimes just have too much guilt buying regular B & J but not enough guilt to buy the slow churned ice cream...which is so much better for me...but much less tasty...) because that's what I need to survive a storm.

I'm actually going to be one of the very few going into work tomorrow. We'll see how I fare.