Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Themes of the kitchen

So we’ve been trying to do more with less. It’s a good moto when you have a choice. When you crunch the numbers and figure out that you cannot both keep a budget and cover your needs on your current income it isn’t really a moto any more.

I will go in to the details of how we are attempting the whole more with less thing a bit later. More than one step and each sorta deserves its own attempt to shine.

For now know that we had to eat our groceries in reverse order of priority after our last shopping trip. We had more frozenables than our freezer would hold and while it started out nice and frosty outside, it didn’t hold long enough. So we have been in a race to eat food before it went bad since we bought it and now we are at the end of the road and the few remaining fresh fruits and veggies were ready to sprout legs.

Today was all about using up every little thing possible before it was too late. Even if it things didn’t make culinary sense. There is also a birthday which needed tending.

Garbage Can Stuffed Peppers… Dos
(I don’t remember how I made uno any more but I know I used both WINE and KETCHUP in the same recipe. I have no shame.)
(whatever is going bad in the kitchen?)
6 Green peppers minus the one you already ate
1 Onion
7 very small vine tomatoes
2 cloves of garlic (or however many you can find in the corners of the fridge)
1 pound ground meat. Try turkey or beef or woodchuck if you have it.
½ C uncooked rice. I used jasmine basmati rice
½ a baby can of tomato sauce
An artistic amount of Ketchup
Worcestershire sauce
Feta Cheese (however much cheese you want)
Parmesan Cheese (ditto)
Spices: Chili Powder, Crushed Red Pepper, Oregano, Ground Coriander, Parsley, Ground Pepper, Salt

Start some water boiling in a big pot. Cut the tops off the peppers and remove any edible pepper pieces from the tops before you pitch them. Scoop the seeds and ribs from the peppers and cut out any bad spots. (Note: you really shouldn’t use peppers with bad spots because the goodness will leak out the holes. Damn) Drop the hollowed out peppers in the boiling water for 3 minutes (longer is NOT better here). Finely chop the remaining pepper pieces from the tops and set them aside. Use a slotted spoon or tongs to get the peppers out of the pot. Drain the water from the insides and set aside. Dump the rice into the water where the peppers just were and add a heaping helping of the above spices. Cook the rice for about 13 minutes or until it starts to get soft but not done. Finely chop the onion to match the pepper tops. Add some olive oil to a 12 inch, well seasoned cast iron skillet of awesomeness and throw in the chopped onions and peppers. When the onions start to become translucent add in the ground meat product. Drain the water from the half cooked rice and set aside. Dice the tomatoes. When the meat is almost completely browned add the garlic and tomatoes, then the tomato sauce and quantity of the above spices that you wish. Use the ketchup to sketch something interesting on top of the mixture and then use it to sign your name on your work. Throw on two splooshes of Worcestershire sauce and turn off the heat. Mix in the rice, feta and parmesan cheese. Place the parboiled peppers…in a muffin tin. Stuff them as full of the meat rice concoction as possible. Put any remaining meat/rice into a bread pan and pretend it’s a meatloaf. Bake everything for 25 or so minutes at 350 until everything is warm and gooey and wonderful all the way through.

Note 1: If I had more garlic I would add it. Then maybe some tomato paste and red wine in the meat mix .And mozzarella. Lots of mozzarella. I would even sprinkle mozzarella on top of the peppers so that it could get all melty and brown. For spices I would add garlic powder and basil to both the meat and the rice mix.

Note 2: I prepped and packed my parboiled peppers in my pepper pan and popped the peppers in the fridge for the present. I will bake them when I know what train my boyfriend is getting on.

1 Bad Banana 9 Good Cupcakes
Dry Ingredients:
1 C flour (Use whole wheat and pretend its healthy)
¾ C sugar (Brown sugar compliments the whole wheat pretty well)
¾ t Baking Powder
3/8 t baking soda (or ¼ and half of ¼ t since no one owns 1/8 spoons but me)
¼ t salt
1/8 nutmeg (or just give the shaker some authoritative shakes)
¼ t cinnamon

Wet Ingredients:
1 banana mashed to oblivion (~0.5 C)
¼ C milk and 1/8 t lemon juice
¼ C butter
1 Egg beaten
½ t Vanilla
¼ t Almond Extract

Preheat the oven to like 350ish. Combine and mix the dry ingredients. Do the same with the wet ones. Then thoroughly mix the 2 together. Slap some muffin papers in a muffin tin or grease the wells. Add the batter to the tin and bake for about 18 minutes. This made 9 muffins for me. You might also elect to make a mini cake. This should be the right size for a 9x9 pan…just bake the thing for longer. Feel free to double the recipe since that’s how it started.

DISCLAIMER: I have no idea how good these are. You tell me. I refuse to eat them. Last time I tried the original recipe I gagged. I can’t make myself like these any more unlike banana bread. Every time I make a banana baked good I think I am going to upchuck.

Posing as Healthy Cream Cheese Frosting
(I pretty much stole this one straight up aside from the fact that I added copious amounts of cinnamon as well)

1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
2 tablespoons butter (called for unsalted but whatever)
2 tablespoons brown sugar (called for light but goodness they were picky)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract (do people really measure vanilla and almond extract?)
1 teaspoon almond extract
1 tablespoon honey
An over healthy dose of cinnamon

Melt butter and allow to cool. Or just melt it and toss it in. Why not? In a large bowl, combine cream cheese, butter, brown sugar, vanilla and almond extract. Beat with an electric mixer. Or since you don’t own a mixer use a fork. When mixture starts to stiffen, stop mixer fork and add honey and copious amounts of cinnamon. Continue to beat until light and fluffy. Do not over mix, or it will collapse (I can’t vouch for this). Spread immediately and store cake in refrigerator.

DISCLAIMER 2: Use extreme caution as the frosting is highly addictive and more than one coal miner’s daughter has become sick from eating too much at a sitting. I wonder if you could freeze it in to ice cream! Mmmm. Death.


Been a long time since I rock and rolled

I took a break to try to get my shit together. Turns out that to get your shit together properly you can’t actually take a break. Funny that. All I really got out of the repose was the revelation that if I am not actively writing I suck at it. I stutter in text. Can’t keep a thought rolling to a finish. And I tend towards not starting at all. If I can productively procrastinate enough the day is done and the writing isn’t…but I didn’t have to suffer through my own mediocrity. Which in turn breeds a new form of mediocrity.

Let’s try and be done with that.

In the coming months I need to write for a handful of scholarships and there is that whole evil thesis lingering…looming…lurking…waiting to grab and wrap my foot around a root under the water until I run out of air. I don’t think I will ever be in the mood for that but ima do if only because I have to.

And since my audience of 5 is primarily in tune via Facebook I thought I might pass along to you that Facebook and I are not on speaking terms. It’s not me. Facebook somehow dissociated all of the email addresses from my account so I can’t sign in. I still get some email notifications but I can’t do anything about it. I waste less time but boy is it a pain in the ass.

Also I had to re-pierce my nose today. I think things have reverted back to the way they were before the ring got put in, when everyone told me that it was a bad idea and that they wouldn’t like it and neither would I. But seeing as how it’s the only piece of jewelry that I wear that I can regularly see and the face happens to be mine, it’s my choice. And I still like it. Enough to withstand the involuntary blood and tears and near loss of consciousness that go with acute pain that close to the eyes. Maybe someday when I have a two year old, or an interview for a real job…

I spent most of the day in the kitchen so you will get the results of that shortly. Use it as you will.


Wednesday, January 13, 2010

If nothing else- Pray for Haiti

For updates on HAFF and the missionaries see here:

For a good charity see here: