Friday, October 26, 2012

Whilst I'm Not Cooking #14

No-Bake Coconut Cream Goat Cheese Cheesecake from How Sweet It Is

Believe it or not, I have actually cooked a little bit recently! I may even have a new recipe next week! I think part of the reason I've been so quiet is that I'm doing a lot of repeats. I made another big batch of Fall Corn Chowder, I'm about to make Vegan Pumpkin Bread, I'm just not doing much that is new. I'm so boring. I've been eating out quite a lot, too and am terribly behind on restaurant reviews.

I would tell you I'll do better, but I don't want to lie to you. I don't like telling lies.

Fun food things to tell you:

I found Crumpets at Trader Joes and had a minor excited freak out.

I have no sugar left in my house. None. I used it all. I really need to go to the store.

In the last sentence I originally wrote Shore instead of Store. I think this is partly because I want to be on a beach and partly because I'm reading the weirdest book ever called Kafka on the Shore. It's brilliant but so so odd.

I still don't like celery. I don't even wish I did.

I have 507 unread food posts from other bloggers in my Google Reader. I am so behind.

Here are some awesome things that I want to make someday soon: 

Banana Coconut Bread from The Wednesday Chef

Coconut Cream Goat Cheese Cheesecake from How Sweet It Is

Pesto Stuffed Zucchini from Simply Recipes

Bacon Corn Hash from Smitten Kitchen

Salted Rolo Brownie Cookies from Cookies & Cups

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Balsamic Glazed Sweet Potatoes

Well, it's finally starting to seem like Fall. I'm drinking Hot Apple Cider and the Spinach Salads are gone from my lunch bag. It's starting to cool down in the Valley and people are wearing hoodies and boots.

It's nice this time of year, when the weather is perfect. The trees are turning colors back in Atlanta, it's cold back in England. All of my homes are starting to shift towards the cooler, quieter winter time.

And me? I'm happy. I've let go of a lot of things that made me unhappy and embraced a lot of things that feel good and right. I'm taking my life back. I'm doing things that I want to do. I'm putting myself and my family first.

It's good.

I had a really epic clumsy three days where I kept dropping things or injuring myself. I lost five eggs and a vintage mixing bowl in the aftermath, and for a day or so I was pretty sure I had broken my own nose. I swear the doorframe in my bathroom jumped out at me. I've got my eye on the pesky little bugger.

I know I haven't been around as much. I know I saw that every time. I'm making changes in my life and it's taking lots of time.

I'm also making things like Balsamic Glazed Sweet Potatoes, because they are absolutely delicious.

Balsamic Glazed Sweet Potatoes

3 Small Sweet Potatoes, peeled
1 Tablespoon Brown Sugar
1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
2 1/2 Tablespoons Balsamic Vinegar

Preheat the oven to 400F. Peel your sweet potatoes. I used a mix of yellow and white, because that is what I had on hand. Once peeled, dice them up and put them in a bowl. Add the sugar, oil and vinegar and mix well. Turn out onto a non-stick cookie sheet, preferably lined with Sil-Pat. Grind over a generous helping of salt.

Roast in the oven for 40 minutes until turning dark and crispy. Stir them every ten minutes or so to try and stop them from sticking and so that they cook evenly.

Eat with some sliced turkey or chicken, or just on their own out of a bowl.

Makes four servings.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Strawberry, Vanilla and Coconut Granola

A while ago I got on this kick. I became hooked on eating this granola that I would buy at Fresh & Easy with plain yoghurt. It became a really easy breakfast/lunch/between show snack. It's a great granola and my favorite thing about it is the chunks of freeze-dried strawberries scattered throughout.

I had pulled a recipe for french chocolate granola a few months back and stuck it on my fridge with the hopes that I would be inspired to try it, but every time I thought about granola, it was the strawberry one that I wanted.

The other day, I saw freeze dried strawberries on sale in the store and I had an Aha! moment. Why not just make my own big batch of granola? I buy it so often anyway and I had literally every ingredient except for the strawberries. So, scoop up the strawberries I did and I scurried home to whip up a monster batch of granola. Since I was making this for myself, I played around and added in some coconut and some vanilla.

This granola is extremely yummy. It's really filling. It's not super sweet, but it gives you lots of energy. I made double the amount here because I knew I would eat it all. I love looking at the jars in the pantry. They fill me with sunshiney joy.

Strawberry, Coconut and Vanilla Granola

3 Cups Oats (not quick-cook)
1/2 Cup Shredded Coconut
3 Tablespoons Sugar
Pinch of Salt
6 Tablespoons Honey
2 Tablespoons Vegetable Oil
1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract
1oz Freeze Dried Strawberries

Preheat the oven to 325F.

In a small saucepan, heat up the honey and the oil until it is very very liquidy. Take off the heat and stir in the vanilla.
In a mixing bowl, combine the oats, coconut, salt and sugar. Pour over the liquid ingredients and mix well to coat. Spread the mixture on a cookie sheet in a thin even layer. Put in the oven. Bake for 30 minutes, stirring at the ten and twenty minute marks until the granola is golden.

Take the pan out of the oven and let cool, stirring occasionally so that it doesn't form one big sheet. When it's cool, mix in the strawberries and store in a nice big glass jar.

Eat with plain yoghurt at the dining room table while reading the latest issue of Saveur.

Makes about 4 Cups.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Welcome, Lynn Chen Followers!

I recently had a guest post and recipe published on one of my all-time favorite blogs, The Actor's Diet. I'm a huge fan of Lynn Chen and am really honored to be a small part of her blog.

So, welcome! If you're hear for recipes, here is a link to my Recipe Index. Otherwise, just enjoy roaming around and thanks for being here!

Monday, October 1, 2012

Fall Corn Chowder

Back when I lived in Atlanta, I used to work at the Atlanta Shakespeare Company. They had a kitchen attached to the theatre, and they would cycle through different menus based on the season.

When I worked there, I frequently ate dinner there and there were a few favorites from the menu that I would always be happy to order.... Dragon Noodles, Spinach Salad, Chocolate Lava Cake, Apple Crisp and the Corn Chowder.

I loved that Chowder and I would eat it almost every day. I always had it with a nice crusty wholewheat roll. It was hearty and delicious and to me, it felt like the perfect Fall food. I've never liked soup much, but for some reason I always love chowder. 

I have a lot of really happy memories of that place. It's where I found the bulk of my chosen family. Even though I don't live there any more and will probably never work there again, it's always going to feel like home to me. Fall and Spring are always my favorite times of year in Atlanta.

It's still hot in the desert. Tomorrow it will hit triple digits, but this should be the last time. It's October now, and the weather should start dipping soon. I wore a hoodie outside the other day. Granted it was 1am at a park and the sprinklers were on, but I still wore a hoodie.

Pumpkin Spice Lattes are in the coffee shops. The mountains that surround the valley are starting to see a touch of snow. Soon it will be Fall. So I made my Fall comfort food, willing the season to show up in Las Vegas.

I miss Appalachia. But hey, the chowder is delicious.

Fall Corn Chowder

4 Ears of Corn
1 Medium White Onion, diced
3 Garlic Cloves, minced
4 Bay Leaves
5 Small Potatoes, peeled
1 Cup White Wine
1 Teaspoon Tarragon (dried)
3 Tablespoons Butter

Bring 6 cups of water to a boil on the stove. Cut all of the corn kernels off the ears of corn and set them aside. Take the corn cobs, break them in half and put them in the boiling water with the bay leaves. Add in half the tarragon and cover. Simmer for 30 minutes.

In a heavy bottomed pan, melt the butter. Add in the onion and cook for 5-8 minutes until softened. Add in the garlic and cook for another minute. Then, add in half the cup of wine and let reduce.

While it is reducing, strain the corn broth and discard the cobs. Save the bay leaves.

Pour the broth into the onion mixture. Add the potatoes, bay leaves, the rest of the wine and the tarragon. Add a few grinds of pepper and then salt to taste. You'll be using probably quite a lot of salt.

Simmer for 10 minutes, then add the corn kernels. Simmer for 15 more minutes until the potatoes are soft.

Eat with whole wheat bread and dreams of turning leaves.

Makes 6 servings.