Sunday, December 13, 2009

Kickin Collard Greens

So, I've pretty much got cooking with chard down. When I saw another tough green, collard, at the farmer's market yesterday, I decided to go ahead and give it a try. Psh. I got this. I got home and perused and came up with this one. They all had some kind of meat. One had a smoked turkey leg (where the eff do you get one of THOSE?!). One had smoked ham hock (I don't even know what that means!). This one had bacon. I can handle bacon!


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 3 slices bacon
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 3 cups chicken broth
  • 1 pinch red pepper flakes
  • 1 pound fresh collard greens, cut into 2-inch pieces

  1. Heat oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add bacon, and cook until crisp. Remove bacon from pan, crumble and return to the pan. Add onion, and cook until tender, about 5 minutes. Add garlic, and cook until just fragrant. Add collard greens, and fry until they start to wilt.
  2. Pour in chicken broth, and season with salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes (I skipped s&p. In my opinion, chicken broth is flavorful enough). Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for 45 minutes (umm...mine took like 10 mins. Keep an eye on it), or until greens are tender.
I only had one bunch of collard greens and I have NO idea how much it weighed, so I assumed it was about half and made the recipe accordingly. Came out pretty good!! I loved the bacon (duh). The greens taste kinda spinach-y, which I liked. I would definitely make this again.

Now if only I had made something else to eat it with...oops...

Update: I threw the leftovers in a skillet and cracked a couple eggs over the top. Mixed it all up to make a collard green omlette (sp?) thing...oh man. SUPER good.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Stir-fried beef, broccoli, and yams

Woot! I'm on a roll people!! This is another recipe that I got out of Bon Apetit magazine. It was a "30 min meal" and they aren't total liar-heads like that damn Rachael Ray. The prep work was pretty simple. Anyhoo, this is a twist on beef and broccoli. Still don't have a camera cord, so head on over to your local Chinese food place, look at the beef and broccoli, imagine big orange chunks of sweet potato in it, and there ya go. For the record-I served with my trust quinoa.

1/4 cup water
3 Tbl (packed brown sugar)
3 Tbl oyster sauce (I found mine at Whole Foods, by the soy sauce)
1/4 teas dried crushed red pepper
1 1-lb flank steak, cut in half lengthwise, then crosswise into 1/4 inch thick slices
1.5 Tbl cornstarch
2.5 Tbl Asian sesame oil, divided (same section as the oyster sauce)
4 cups broccoli flowerets (about 8 oz)
1 8-oz yam, peeled, cut in half lengthwise, then crosswise into 1/3 inch thick slices
2 teas chopped peeled fresh ginger

Stir first 4 ingredients in small bowl until sugar dissolves. Set sauce aside. Place beef in large bowl; sprinkle with salt and pepper. Add cornstarch and toss to coat.

Heat 1.5 Tbl oil (I automatically grabbed olive oil instead of sesame. Damn it!! The sesame oil is SO good) in large wok over high heat. Add beef mixture; stir-fry until no longer pink outside, about 3 mins.

Transfer beef mixture to medium bowl. Heat remaining 1 Tbl of sesame oil in same skillet. Add broccoli, yam, and ginger. Toss to coat; sprinkle with salt and pepper. Add sauce. Cover, reduce heat to med-high and cook until vegetables are just tender, about 5 mins. Add beef mixture. Toss until sauce coats beef, about 1 min.

Easy enough, yeah? Naturally, I overcooked the meat a little. I think partly because I stir-fried it on med-high and not high heat. Oops. The sauce came out really tasty and the veggies were just right. Overall, it's a keeper!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Sausage Risotto with Spring Greens

I got this recipe from Bon Appetit magazine. My attention was caught when it mentioned swiss chard, which I've dabbled with before. I'd never made risotto and was a smidge scared to try it. All I can think of is Top Chef when they're all "omg it's SO hard to make a perfect risotto". I might be making that up. But it sounds about right. This recipe looked doable, though, so I thought I'd give it a shot.


  • 1 bunch dandelion greens, Swiss chard, or mustard greens (12 ounces), tough bottom stems removed, leaves cut into 3/4-inch pieces (I didn't see any of those other greens at the farmer's market, so I stuck with the chard)
  • 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) butter, divided
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 large garlic clove, finely chopped
  • 6 ounces mild Italian sausage (about 1 1/2 links), casings removed
  • 2 cups arborio rice (13 to 14 ounces)
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 5 cups low-salt chicken broth
  • 3/4 cup (packed) freshly grated Parmesan cheese plus additional for serving


  • Cook greens in boiling salted water just until wilted, about 1 minute. Drain; cool.
  • Melt 1 tablespoon butter in large saucepan over medium heat; add onion and garlic. Sauté until onion is translucent, about 5 minutes. Add sausage; sauté until brown, breaking up with spoon, about 3 minutes. Add rice; stir 1 minute. Add wine; reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer until wine is almost absorbed. Add 1 cup broth. Stir until broth is almost absorbed. Add remaining 4 cups broth by 1/2 cupfuls, allowing broth to be absorbed before adding more. Mix in greens after 10 minutes. Cook until rice is tender and mixture is creamy, 25 minutes total. Mix in cheese and remaining 3 tablespoons butter. Season with salt and pepper.
  • Serve risotto, passing additional cheese.
Couple things:
1-I would swear on my LIFE that I had parm in my fridge. I didn't. Just smelling this dish cooking, I knew it would be effing fantastic with the cheese. Damn it. I think I left it at a friends house...? boo.
2-My risotto came out a tad undercooked, but not too much. Totally delish and creamy!
3-I halved the recipe, but kept the full amount of greens. Can't have too many veggies.
4-Definitely use the low sodium broth. It's super salty and I have no idea why. Maybe from the sausage?
5-SUCCESS!! Super good! And totally easy!
6-Don't have my camera cord, so pics to come.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Elderberry Martini

To be honest, I have no idea where this recipe came from. Oops. And I'm also writing it from memory sooo....yeah.

Edit: Just kidding! Found it!

8 muddled green grapes
1 oz vodka
2 oz sauvignon blanc (they gave a specific kind, but I can't remember. We used whatever was around and it was fine) (it was supposed to be Kim Crawford, apparently)
1 oz elderberry syrup (at IKEA)
1/4 oz lemon juice

Put all that junk in a shaker with some ice and get r done! Obviously (I hope), make sure you strain it since it'll full of grape skin and seeds. The recipe said to also run it through a tea strainer, but we kinda liked the little tiny grape pieces in it.

(since this seems to be a popular search, if you make it and have any comments/suggestions, feel free to leave a comment!)

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Turkey Meatballs

This is one of my favorite dishes that my dad makes. Pretty easy, SUPER good. Usually, if made right (which is always, by him, and about half the time, by me), it's one of those holy-crap-I-cant-stop-eating-until-I-puke meals. Mmmm...

1 lb ground turkey (try to avoid 'lean', because that meat dries out and the meatballs sometimes fall apart)
1/2 cup shredded tart apple (granny smith)
3/4 ts salt (last batch I made seemed a little salty, so maybe a touch less)
1/8 ts garlic salt
2 Tbl veggie oil
1/2 cup apricot jam (you can supposedly use apple or pineapple or whatever, but that doesn't sound great to me, soooo...I stick with apricot)
2 Tbl spicy brown mustard.

Combine turkey, apple, salt and garlic in med bowl. Shape into 1.5 in balls. Brown in heated oil (about 8 mins). Stir together jelly and mustard. Spoon over meatballs and simmer another 8-10 mins until glazed. Turn meatballs several times. Sauce thickens as it cools. Serve over rice.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Mostly Green Curry Chicken

This is a Rachael Ray recipe from her 365: No Repeats book. Rachael Ray is annoying as all hell and she's full of crap if she thinks ANYONE can make these recipes in 30 mins. Not happenin. However, there are a kagillion (365) recipes in this book and most are easy enough. This particular recipe doesn't even HAVE curry in it, which I find odd, but whatevs...

1 1/5 cups chicken stock/broth
1 13.5 can of coconut milk
1 cup jasmine rice (I used quinoa instead. Little healthier)
3 Tbl veggie/canola oil
4 6-8 oz chicken breast halfs, but into bite size pieces
salt and pepper
1 green bell pepper (plus other color bells, if you so desire)
1 med yellow onion, thinly sliced
3 lg garlic cloves
1 sm jalapeno pepper (eff that. this whitie left this out)
3 in piece of fresh ginger, peeled and finely grated
2 cups broccoli florets
zest and juice of one lime
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
3 scallions, thinly sliced
1/2 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley leaved, chopped
1 cup frozen peas
hot sauces, such as tobasco (nah)

In a sauce pot, combine 1 cup of the chicken stock, 4 oz (1/4 cup) of the coconut milk, and the jasmine rice (or quinoa). Bring to a simmer, cover, and cook for 15 to 18 mins (or until all the liquid is absorbed). Turn the heat off and keep the rice covered until ready to serve.

While the coconut jasmine rice is cooking, preheat a large nonstick skillet over high heat with about 2 Tbl of veggie oil. Season the chicken pieces with salt and pepper. Add the chicken pieces, spreading them evenly across the pan, and brown the chicken on all sides, about 3-4 mins. Remove the browned chicken to a plate and reserve. Add the last Tbl of veggie oil to the pan. Add the green bell peppers, onions, garlic, jalapenos, ginger, and broccoli florets. Cook, stirring frequently, for 3-4 mins, or until the veggies start to wilt. To the skillet add the remaining coconut milk, and 1/2 cup chicken stock. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 4-5 mins. Add the chicken back to the skillet, and return it to a simmer for about 2 more mins. Add the lime juice, lime zest, cilantro, scallions, parsley, and frozen peas. Stir to thoroughly combine. Simmer a minute more to heat the peas., taste, and adjust the seasoning. Add more salt or some hot sauce, if you like heat. Serve over coconut rice (or quinoa).

Ok, that's totally not my pic beeeecause my camera jumped ship and can't be found at this exact moment. But it pretty much looked the same. The coconut quinoa turned out a lot better than I expected and the chicken and veggies were pretty good, too. I probably could have use a LITTLE hot sauce or something to spice it up a bit, but I was pleased with the result.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Brie Tortellini

Holy easy amazingness, Batman!!! I haven't cooked in approximately a thousand years because I'm NEVER home. A girl gets kinda tired of eating crackers for dinner, though, ya know? Enter the easiest pasta dish eeeeever.

1 package of tortellini (mine was cheese. Pretty sure anything goes)
about 1/2 lb chopped up tomatos (or however much you want)
1/2 cube brie (ish)
chicken (I totally cheated and used that ready to eat bagged cubed stuff. Don't judge me)
sliced fresh basil (I definitely forgot this, but I'm certain it would be perfect)

cook the tortellini as the package says. Drain and return to the pot. Immediately start adding little cubes of brie. Every few cubes, stir it up. The cubes will melt and start turning into a thick sauce. Keep adding until it's to your desired cheesiness. I like mine medium cheesy, so it was about a half triangle. Mix in the chicken and tomatoes, and add the basil last. SO EASY. And hello, the sauce is all melted cheese. Heck yes.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009


Two summers ago our "drink of the summer" was watermelon margaritas. Last summer it was mojitos. This summer it's going to be sangria. My usual first stop for a recipe? Sure enough there was one with a bazillion reviews and almost all of them raving. As yesterday was our first No Pool Pool Party (NP3) of the season to celebrate my buddies Nic and Rob's return to the mainland, it was the perfect party to test this out on. And it was a freakin success, y'all.

1/2c brandy
1/4c. lemon juice
1/3c frozen lemonade concentrate
1/3c orange juice
1 bottle of red wine (or white, probably. Right?)
1/2c triple sec
1 sliced lemon
1 sliced orange
1 sliced lime
1 sm chopped apple
sliced strawberries (basically threw in all the fruit I could think of. To me, the more fruit the merrier)
2c ginger ale

I made it the night before, everything except the ginger ale and strawberries (they were super ripe, so I was afraid they'd get mushy), and let it marinate overnight. And marinate it did. The apple chunks the next day tasted like straight liquor. Awesome. Oh, and we also quadrupled the recipe and basically served it out of a giant bucket. Heh...I'm pretty sure that this isn't going to need a whole lot of tweaking. We tried it out before putting the ginger ale in and it was super good and SUPER strong. The ginger ale just cut it down a bit and made it last longer, so I'll leave that one up to you... ;) Just know that the first option also comes with a "knock you on your ass faster than you think" warning...weeee!! Also-I know that there are totally legit, fast and easy recipes out there for sangria. This one takes a bit of time and bunch of ingredients, but it's pretty damn good...

Monday, April 27, 2009

Basil Chicken over Angel Hair

I made this tonight! I love and adore angel hair pasta. No clue why. I think it's the light dreamy texture of it. Since I haven't actually cooked anything at my new place and my personal training client canceled on me tonight, I decided it was a good night to kick back, open a bottle of Downhill Wine, and whip up some food!

1-8oz package of angel hair pasta
2teas olive oil
1/2c finely chopped (I did sliced) onion (I assumed yellow?)
1 clove chopped garlic (one glove? For 4 servings? Yerrite. I did 2. The Ashtons raised me better than that)
2 1/2c chopped tomatoes (I used Roma)
2c cubed cooked chicken breast (oops)
1/4c chopped fresh basil
1/2 teas salt
1/8 teas hot pepper sauce (I used a couple shakes of ground red pepper)
1/4c Parmesan cheese

In a large pot of salted boiling water, cook angel hair pasta until it is al dente, about 8-10 mins (the one I used only took 3 mins!! Keep an eye on it). Drain, and set aside.

In a large skillet, heat oil over med-high heat. Saute the onions and garlic. Stir in the tomatoes, chicken, basil, salt, and hot pepper sauce. Reduce heat to med, and cover skillet. Simmer for about 5 mins, stirring frequently, until mixture is hot and tomatoes are soft.

Toss sauce with hot cooked angel hair pasta to coat. Serve with Parmesan cheese.

Other than throwing raw chicken in with everything because I didn't READ THE DIRECTIONS (every teacher I've ever had hates me), which I don't think really negatively impacted it at all, this was a totally easy and freakin tasty dish!! It's a very light sauce, mostly just the juices from the tomatoes, which I liked. The basil and garlic took over the flavor, which suits me juuuuust fine. I'll just go ahead and file this one under success ;)

ps-holy crap my food pics totally suck...I'll have to work on that...

Monday, March 30, 2009

Teriyaki Beef Stir Fry

I was super craving something teriyaki-y today and, since I bought some veggies at the farmer's market on Sunday, thought a stir-fry type thing would be good. I snagged some sauce from Target and some beef fajita strip things from Whole Foods and the rest is history...

1 packaged (1-ish lb's) of fajita cut beef
1/2 bottle of Kikkoman Teriyaki baste and glaze
1 med yellow onion
4 large chard leaves
3 weird orange radish/beet type things (no clue. I bought them at the farmer's market because they're pretty! I'm eating it right now and still have no idea what they are)
1 med green bell pepper

Put 2T of olive oil in a frying pan. Over med heat, cook the beef, flipping once when half done. After you flip it, pour in the teriyaki sauce and simmer until cooked. Maybe 5 mins total. Ish. Take the meat out and set aside on a dish, keeping the sauce in the pan. Add the mystery veggie, bell peppers, onion, and the chopped stem of the chard and cook until slightly soft. When it's almost done, add in the chard leaves. Add the meat back in and serve with rice.

Success!! My meat was a little overcooked (as usual. damn it!), and I put a little too much sauce in mine, but overall it was pretty good. I managed to get the veggies just right. Cooked but still a little crispy.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Coconut Mojito

There's a mojito bar in San Jose that we were obsessed with for a while. They have a coconut mojito that tastes like it was made with the baby jesus's very own hands. SO GOOD. They have rum with giant chunk of fruit marinating in it and the result is fabulous. Rather than continue to spend $10 a drink on this taste of heaven, we decided to try to make them ourselves. After several test rounds, we finally came up with the perfect concoction.

2 teas sugar
8 mint leaves
1 1/2 shots light rum
1/2 shot of Malibu coconut rum
1 shot lime juice
splash of soda water

Smash sugar, mint and lime juice in a cup with one of those..uh...smasher thingies. Pour the booze mixture over it. Add a splash of soda water on top and some ice and you're good to go. The manual labor is worth the result, trust.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Apple Cinnamon Quinoa

The love of my life, quinoa, is not a savory only ingredient! I think I remember my brother Justin mentioning that it could be cooked up and eaten just like oatmeal/hot cereal. Huh...I'm game! So I poked around the interwebs and pulled from a few sources to make this:

2c. rinsed quinoa
4c water
1 peeled, diced apple (just peel with a potato peeler, and type of apple is up to you. I usually use Granny Smith)
2 teas cinnamon
handfull of raisins

Combine the water and quinoa, bring to a boil then cover and simmer. When water level meets quinoa level (ie: it's about half way done), throw in the apples and raisins so that they cook and soften and sweeten up the quinoa. I like my raisins all plump and juicy, but if you want them more chewy then just add them in right before you eat it. When the water is all absorbed, mixed in the cinnamon and voila! Simple as that. Just like any hot cereal, feel free to add a little brown sugar/syrup/whatever and milk if you want. It's really up to you. I like a ton of apple, so I usually throw in a bit extra of that, too.

Quinoa. Again.

This is kind of a cop-out, since I've pretty much made this before but, since I haven't cooked anything in approximately forever, I'm writing about it anyways. Deal. It is, however, the first time that I've used ground meat with quinoa, so it's sorta newish! It's my 'crap I wanna make dinner but don't want to put ANY effort into figuring out what to make or actually making it' meal.

1 part quinoa to 2 parts chicken stock (it's been a little squishy lately, so maybe a smidge less than 2 parts). I used almost 2 cups of dry quinoa, which might have been a little too much for the amount of meat and veggies that I had.

While that's simmering, covered, I started the meat and veggies.

-splash of water
-1lb (I think. 1 package, anyways) of ground pork (because it was the cheapest and well, ground meat is ground meat to me. My palette is sophisticated like that)
-a sprinkle of Fagundes (sp?)meat seasoning (that stuff is the SHIZ! Especially rubbed on a steak. Drool...I'll put it on pretty much anything)

Saute the meat up over med-ish heat until it's not pink and transfer it onto a plate/bowl with a slatted spoon to drain the liquid. Try not to continuously pick at it and end up eating half of it off the plate because ground meat with seasoning tastes like a dream come true. Oops.

Leaving a little of the liquid behind, toss in your veggies and cook those suckers up over med-high heat until soft-ish. This time I had green beans, mixed potatoes (which I bought at the farmer's market. I love the purple ones. Because they're pretty.), and yellow squash. Oh-I put the potatoes in first for a few minutes because they take longer to cook than the other veggies. I'm a dumbass and sprinkled more seasoning on the veggies, because I'm obsessed with it. Let me tell you something- chicken stock (or any stock)+salty seasoning on meat AND veggies=OMG I NEED WATER. Way too much salty. Oops. It was still super tasty though, and made enough for probably about 4-6 people. (read: I'll be eating leftovers every meal for a week)

Side note: I go to the farmer's market every Sunday to load up on produce, but didn't have any veggies other than the potatoes on hand because I went all apple and orange crazy at the market last week. I went to Whole Foods, the only place with decent organic veggies, prepared to get raped by their outrageous prices (I've paid $4 there on accident for ONE red pepper before. Wtf.). For once, they weren't bad though! I try to stick to the farmer's market because I like knowing that it's fresh and local, but Whole Foods is a decent fall-back. Sometimes.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Chicken and Rice Soup

From Isabel's Cantina (link to the right)

It's been a bit on the chilly side and, judging by my last post date on here, I was due to make something. Soup sounded like a good choice, so I had my parents over for dinner at my new place. Since my social circle now consists of...well...them. I picked this recipe because it seemed like the most simple and I wasn't trying to blow up my new kitchen, ya know?

2Tb olive oil
1 lg yellow onion
4 garlic cloves minced
2 md diced carrots
2 diced celery stalks
6c chicken broth
2 bay leaves (mom failed and brought me basil! oh well ;) )
pinch of saffron
3-8oz boneless, skinless chicken breast halves, cut into 1in pieces (oops I used 3 whole halves)
8oz asparagus, cut into 2in pieces
6c cooked rice
1 jarred roasted red pepper, cut into strips (bought this and totally forgot to use it)

Dad's tip: hold the asparagus on each end and bend it. Wherever it breaks is where you should cut it to cut off the ends.

heat the olive oil in a large, heavy-bottomed (HA! like me!!) pot over medium-high heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook until the onion is soft and translucent, about 3 mins. Add the carrots and celery. Continue cooking for a few mins more, stirring to coat the veggies with the oil. Add the chicken broth, bay leaves, and saffron. Bring to a boil and then lower the heat so the broth simmers. Cook for 20mins, skimming off any foam that rises to the surface.

Add the chicken and asparagus, season with salt and pepper, and cook until the chicken is just cooked through and the asparagus is tender, about 5 mins. Discard the bay leaves.

To serve, ladle the soup into the bowls and add a scoop of rice to the center of each bowl (I used that frozen rice from Trader Joes, so I just threw it in with the soup to thaw out). Top the rice with strips of bell pepper and serve hot.

It was pretty good. Not great, but good. It tasted like chicken noodle. But with rice. It definitely needed more salt and pepper than what I put in it and some other seasonings. Perhaps the missing bay leaves? I think my mom suggested oregano, too. I bought a par-baked loaf of crusty bread at Trader Joe's and stuck in the oven for a few and served it nice and warm. That bread was awesome. So good! Super crunchy on the outside and really soft on the inside. The soup was pretty quick and easy to make and really good the next day when the rice soaks up a bunch of the broth.

My roommate came home just before dinner so I invited her to join us, as my parents hadn't met her yet and I know she works a lot and is pretty beat when she gets home. She was excited for food and some fresh ears to talk off. I definitely learned a lot more about her and my dad kept asking her the questions that he and I were talking about that I hadn't asked her yet. Good job, dad!

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Stir Fry Question

Ok. This is going to make me look like even more of an idiot than I already am (do?) I got this for Christmas, to my utter joy and delight (oh wow I accidentally spent like an hour on that site...hoping...dreaming...wishing...). I don't cook a whole lot, but I like cooking toys and nice pots and such. One nice big knife? Sweet. One nice pot/wok? Awesome. Add a flat wooden spoon and I'm basically set. Don't ask me why Calphalon is a major turn on to me, but I loooove it way more than the cheap-o pots I had throughout college. Even though I don't think I've ever noticed any actual difference as far as cooking goes.

I use that stupid wok for everything now, appropriate or not. Do my roommates have a full set of Calphalon pots and pans? Yes. Do I still use mine every chance I can get even if it's TOTALLY the wrong type/size out of sheer delight in owning my own single piece of Calphalon goodness? Yes. Who uses a giant wok on an electric stovetop even though the point of it is to heat up the sides which, I would imagine, is 1000x more effective on a gas stove? Me. I even used it to make ginger/carrot/potato soup in. Who makes freakin SOUP in a giant wok?! Me. And, no, I didn't post that recipe because I think I put like 45x more ginger in it than I was supposed to and, well, it wasn't very good. Good thing I made like 3 gallons of it. Damn it. Oh wow, kinda got way off topic there. Wasn't planning on this being a "wok this way" post (HAHAHAHA!! I'm hilarious...right? Oops.

ANYWAYS, my lovely wok was part of an "Asian set" and came with stir fry sauce. Random, but ok. Here's my probably stupid question: do you cook things in stir fry sauce or do you put the sauce on after it's fried and stirred? Let's discuss, my 1.5 readers!

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Brussel Sprouts and Tofu and Pomelo, oh my!

Ok. The dinner that I made myself last night might forever strip me of my title as a fat ass. For real. I had wanted to make the two things separately and only when I said it out loud did I realize how horrifyingly healthy/hippy it sounds. Damn it. As I was cooking it I was thinking "WTF am I doing?! Eating this stupid bird food is only going to leave me starving in about a half hour!". Much to my amazement, though, it was TOTALLY filling. Weird. Maybe those stupid hippies are onto something...

On a recent trip to Nevada City with my best friend Susannah and her parents, her mom made brussel sprouts. I hadn't had them in forever and forgot how much I like them! When I saw a pile of them at the farmer's market this weekend, I decided to attempt to make them myself. The ones I got were a smidge pricey, but I didn't really look around for the cheapest, so I might have just jipped myself.

-Olive oil (couple tablespoons-ish)
-3-ish cloves of crushed garlic
-some brussel sprouts (doing great with the measurements with this one, huh?)

Peel a couple layers off each brussel sprout (the dirty yucky looking layers), cut the stems off and cut them in half. I was told that cutting them in half is optional but that they cook better that way.

Heat up a frying pan with the oil with medium heat, add the garlic. Saute the garlic until it's soft but not brown (I failed at this step. Stupid garlic is tough to get right!). Add the brussel sprouts and saute until nice and browned (hey I did that! "browning" or "cook until a nice crust is formed" never seems to work for me, as evidenced below).

When they're nice and brown, but still undercooked, add in enough water to cover the bottom of the dish and come up to maybe half the height of the brussel sprouts. Don't want to drown them OR burn your pan up when you run out of water. Throw in a sprinkle of salt too, to taste. Cover the pan and steam for about 10 mins. In Nevada City it took a bit longer, and 10 mins seemed a bit much for mine, so just keep an eye on them. When a fork can go through the biggest easily, they're done! Drain the excess water and voila!

Grilled Tofu
Next up: tofu! Typically speaking, I'm not a fan. It tastes like NOTHING. I add it to soups and smoothies because it's good for you and tasteless, but I rarely eat it as it's own dish. I was flipping through Isabel's Cantina, though, and it seemed like a super fast super cheap dish so I decided to go for it. This is kind of a bastardized version of the recipe in the book though, so keep that in mind.

Olive oil
1 container of super firm tofu, cut into 1in cubes (I'd go a little smaller to decrease the plain to spiced tofu ratio)
1/2 teas cumin
1/2 teas ground red pepper (or chili pepper or whatever that red stuff is)

After the tofu is cut, dry it out some with a paper towel. Toss it in a bowl with the spices so that all the pieces are evenly coated (Note: don't absentmindedly lick your fingers while handling ground chili covered things unless you want to scrub your tongue with a paper towel and cough for a half hour. I've heard it sucks). Heat a couple Tablespoons of olive oil over pretty high heat and throw the tofu in. The recipe says to turn as needed, cooking until each side is nice and crusty. Umm...mine didn't really get crusty. Heat might not have been high enough or something. The end result was edible, but I'm gonna try to find something a little more convincing next time. The 'crusty-ness' probably would've helped. I'll have to work on that...I feel like tofu needs to be marinated in beef fat or something to make it actually know?

One of my roommates in San Diego introduced me to Pomelo's. It's like a giant sweet grapefruit. So good! Usually giant versions of regular sized things (ie: koi fish) totally freak me out because they look all steroided and crap, but not these. They're kind of a pain in the ass to eat, but totally worth it. The outside looks like a huge green grapefruit. There is a ton of rind, so I'd avoid paying per pound because only about half of it is actually fruit.

Cut both ends off until you see the pink fruit part. Then cut it in wedges. It's easier to eat if you try to cut close to wedges/skin. When you pull each side of the wedge down, like you would an orange, the fruit part just kind of pops out. The skin is SUPER tough, so I wouldn't recommend trying to eat it.