It’s COLD Outside Quick and Easy Asian Egg Drop Soup (OV)

Um, California, ahem!, San DIEGO, why you gotta be so cold?

This is no lie, people.  It was 36 degrees last night!  36! Sunday night it is supposed to be 32!

This is NOT what I signed up for.

Did you know I worked out practically all day yesterday IN TWO JACKETS so as not to be cold?  And the wind…geez!

I know, we Californians are wimps.  But low-to-mid- 50s in the daytime and into the 30s at night is just not right.  I had to actually close my bedroom window which I leave open 365 days a year because this ultra-cold weather nonsense just doesn’t happen by the beach.

So, last night after getting back from HOT yoga (105 degrees, thank GOODNESS), I made a fire in the living room (we don’t have central air or heat here because, WHY?  Our average temps are between 65-72!), but I was still chilly.

A quick soup, perhaps?  Why, yes.  That sounds lovely!

Quick Asian-y Egg Drop Soup

I say Asian-y with all due respect.  I am not an authority on Asian food, but I understand flavors, so I thought, why not try my hand at this VERY quick little soup?

1 bag of Tofu noodles (or rice noodles are ok, too)

Water (or veg. broth)

Soy or Teriyaki sauce

1 lime wedge

1 egg, beaten

handful baby spinach

red pepper to taste

salt/pepper to taste (though, if you use soy, maybe lay off extra salt

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One egg, beaten

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A little lime

Rinse out the tofu noodles.  If you have never seen these before, they are usually in the refrigerated section with the other tofu products in your store.  I only shop at Sprouts (formerly Henry’s), so I have no idea if you can get them at more mainstream grocery chains like Vons or Ralph’s.  They are kind of amazing, though.  I think the whole bag has about 12 calories.  Anyway, rinse these well, and put in your saucepan with enough water or veg. broth to more than cover them (just eyeball it, maybe 2 cups–a nice amount for a broth soup).  Put this on the stove over med-high heat.

Next, add your soy and teriyaki sauces (I would do a couple splashes of soy, and maybe a 1/4 cup of teriyaki)

Add a handful of spinach and some red pepper. Squeeze in the wedge of lime.

All in

All in

Bring to a boil for a few mins, then turn down to med-low.

Have your egg beaten, and in a small bowl ready to go.

With a steady hand, SLOWLY drizzle the egg as you stir the soup as to create egg ribbons.

Ready to serve

Ready to serve

Once this is done, SERVE.

It was pretty tasty, if I do say so.  And I needed that hot soup in this freakishly cold weather!

Five-minute soup!

Five-minute soup!

Stay warm:)

Pesto in THREE Minutes (V)

That’s right, people.  And it costs almost nothing to make.

I just whipped up a batch because I just happened to have a lot of greens on hand.

Most people think basil when they hear pesto.  Pesto is traditionally these things: basil leaves, pine nuts, olive oil, parmesan cheese, and garlic.

However, I think the word has taken on a more general definition lately because I see all sorts of “pestos” these days.  Spinach with walnut, kale pesto, etc.

Keeping that in mind, I used parsley, basil, AND spinach.  I happen to always have pine nuts and parsley on hand.  And who doesn’t have olive oil and garlic around?  STAPLES, people.  HAVE THEM.

So anyway, get your food processor out and be prepared for some awesomeness.

In the bowl of the processor add the ingredients listed.

Mixed Herb/Greens Pesto

Note: omit the cheese to make this vegan

One large handful of baby spinach

One bunch of Italian flat-leaf parsley

One bunch of basil

1/4 cup pine nuts

a teaspoon each of kosher salt, and pepper

2/3 cup of olive oil (you will add this once the processor starts)

1/4 cup parm. cheese

Put everything in the food processor cleaned and dry, except the oil. It should fill the bowl.

Turn it on, and slowly pour the oil in until it is about as thick as a gaspacho or slightly thin smoothie.  If you like it a little thicker, then just check the consistency.

Here’s what you will get:

After the blend

After the blend

Keep in a glass jar, preferably, and use generously.  I will be putting it on some flatbread pizzas tonight.  Maybe I will even post a picture.

The jar

The jar

Midnight in the Pasta Garden of Vegetables and Shrimp

My friend Angie sent me a text tonight asking to have dinner, and she offered to grab a few groceries on the way over!  So, as she put it, it was “science experiment time.”

I don’t know that it was really much of a science experiment, but with what she brought, and a few little things in my fridge, we made it work.

Here’s the stash:

Quinoa Polenta, whhhhhaaaat?

Quinoa Polenta, whhhhhaaaat?

It's a grab bag!

It’s a grab bag!

In the brown paper is some shrimp, and I used that instead of the bag in the foreground.  She’ll take that home.  There was one yellow squash, one zucchini, one eggplant (not pictured), baby tomatoes, organic pasta, and organic quinoa polenta (I have never seen that before).  Anyway, I added to the mix one green onion stalk, some fresh parsley, capers, lemon juice, and olive oil.

And here we go.

Midnight in the Pasta Garden of Vegetables and Shrimp

(serves 4)

1/2 pound of capellini (if you use a wider cut, like linguini or fettucini, use the whole package)

1/4 polenta log (skip this if you don’t have polenta in this form)

1 medium eggplant

1 yellow squash

1 zucchini

handful + of cherry or grape tomatoes, cut or whole

handful baby spinach

3/4 pound 16-20 shrimp

1 tbsp capers

3 tbsp lemon juice

pinch of red pepper (or more, you know…)

black pepper and salt to taste (I ended up putting a little finishing salt on it because I almost never cook with it)

green onion, finely chopped

fresh parsley, finely chopped

1/2 cup vegetable oil to fry polenta

olive oil to saute vegetables in (again, you may end up adding a little more because eggplant sucks that stuff up)

First, remove the skin from the eggplant, dice into quarter-sized pieces, and soak in salt water.  This will help with the bitterness.  You can prep everything else while this soaks.

Next, chop the parsley and green onion.

Parsley and green onion

Parsley and green onion

I hope you started boiling the water for the pasta…

Yeah, ok.  I know, I forgot, too.

So go do that.

In a small or medium saute pan, heat some vegetable oil for your fried polenta bits.  If skipping this, then, well…skip this.

In a large saute pan, add some olive oil and red pepper.  You can add the squash, zucchini, tomatoes, and eggplant all at the same time.  Throw in the salt and pepper, too.  Once that cooks for about 3-4 minutes, toss it around, and let cook some more.

Here for the party!

Next, add the spinach on top with the green onion, and check the moisture level.  If the squash mixture seems to be too brown or dry, add a little later to deglaze and help with steaming.  Throw the lid on.

Add the spinach and green onion

Add the spinach and green onion

Turn off the heat for a few minutes.

Your water should be boiling, or it already was, and you added your pasta (please, for the love of my dead Italian grandmother, do not add oil to your pasta water.  Just, please, it makes me so sad).

SALT your water, and drain pasta when it is al dente.  No one likes soggy pasta.  Not even your dog.

If frying the polenta, crumble it into the hot vegetable oil, and fry for a few minutes.  Remove onto a paper towel to drain.

Crispy!

Crispy!

Throw the pasta, shrimp, and capers in the saute pan with all the veggies, re-season, turn heat back on.  Cook for a few more minutes to heat the shrimp through.  If your shrimp is raw, put it in with the spinach.

All together

All together

I know you’ve been dying to see ME actually cooking, so since Angie was here, she took some nice action shots for you.

Don’t worry, I made sure to look SUPER PRETTY for you tonight.

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Food pusher

I have no words...

I have no words…

And I truly wear an apron, you guys.  I can’t even think about getting my yoga pants (yeah, I’ve been wearing them alllllll day) dirty!  For shame!

After a few minutes, you should be ready to plate.  You can sprinkle a little parmesan cheese on top, or add some more red pepper and a drizzle of olive oil.  If you friend the polenta, put that on top. Whatever you’d like.  ENJOY!

The finished product

The finished product

And of course you want to see Angie enjoying the food while watching Breaking Bad!

Foodie

Foodie

Have a great night, folks.  Check you tomorrowwwwwsssss.

Sweet Potato Madness! (V) And Bread! (V)

So, I made this loaf of bread earlier, but since I am in the trial/error phase of this new little hobby, I am here to report to you that it was an absolute brick.  A wheat, uncooked-in-the-middle, brick.

I’m not taking the trash out.

I attempted to use half white and half wheat flour.  Except I didn’t account for the difference in the two (at least, that’s what I am assuming was my problem), and thus, the wheat brick masterpiece was half-baked in my oven.

Scratch that one.

Time for a new plan.  I looked online for a good while to check out recipes for bread, because it is, in fact, one of the few things I cannot “wing.”

Baking sucks.  YOU HAVE TO MEASURE STUFF, YOU GUYS.  LIKE, PRECISELY.

Anyway, victory was had: I stuck to the white flour, found a new ratio, added some fresh garlic and basil, and a really good loaf of bread was baked where its brother previously gave his life.

Tada!

Glorious, glorious homemade bread

Glorious, glorious homemade bread

Oh, I eat butter like it’s going out of style.

Here’s the rundown: there was flour, salt, warm water, yeast, a little bit of olive oil.  I drizzled some more oil and sprinkled sea salt on top, and baked it at 425 until I thought it looked pretty good.  You see, I can make baking awesome.  I just told you EXACTLY how to make bread!

It's alive!

It’s alive!

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Beautiful!

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It’s like a REALLY hot sauna in there…

Once that all got straightened out, I wanted to put dinner together.  I say that because tonight’s meal was prepped early, then just put together when it was time to serve.

Here’s what I did:

First, I made some lentils.  I LOVE lentils.  I put diced fennel, cumin, a little cinnamon, salt, pepper, a bay leaf, and a little olive oil in with the lentils and water.  I usually use a little more water than a 2:1 ratio calls for.

So, once that’s done, you can just set them aside.  Also, you can bake your sweet potatoes ahead of time.  I just halve mine, wrap in foil, and bake at 400 for…well, a while.  You know, until they are soft.  Just squeeze ’em.

Finished sweet potato

Finished sweet potato

And yes, sweet potatoes are this color.  Google it.

Ok, now that’s done.  Easy.

Cook up a little spinach (I soak mine for a while, because even if you buy clean spinach, I still feel like it’s a little gritty).  Soak it for a few hours, again, this is something you can just keep on the counter until you are ready to cook.

I cook my spinach with a little olive oil, a lot of lemon juice, and black pepper.  It’s like a 3-minute deal.

You don’t need instructions on how to do this

Next, it’s time to build the dinner!

Take out your plate and cut open your sweet potatoes.  You can put a little butter or Earth Balance, to keep it vegan, or not.  Put some lentils on that bad boy.  Mmmmm.  I can taste it all over again.  Wait, that’s not good…

Step whatever

Step whatever

Great, you’re up to speed!

Next, layer on the spinach, sprinkle with red pepper (I know, I can never get enough), drizzle with a little olive oil, and fennel frawns, for a super fancy look.

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You just died, huh? I KNOW.

For my carnie (short for carnivorous, not carnival) roommate, I added a little of that Crockpot Chicken I made the other day, a small amount of grated organic white cheddar, and then the spinach.  She kinda liked it.

JUST KIDDING.  She ate it all because it was soooooo yums.

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Carnie version

Enjoy.  And if yours look totally different, or you use kale instead of spinach, or cannellini beans instead of lentils, go for it.  THAT’S the joy of cooking!