• erin

    Dumplings with my family
    A recent graduate of The Culinary Institute of America, I found myself with no money, no kitchen equipment, and an exceptionally huge appetite. Ideas, improvisations, and yummy meal solutions were discovered in the kitchen of my very first apartment.
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    I've been getting a lot of requests and suggestions for the apartment kitchen. I LOVE these suggestions, keep them coming!

    If you have anything you'd like me to consider (recipes to develop, shortcuts for recipes, great ingredients, or even blog formatting), shoot me an email and let me know!

    em570039@mycia.net

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    Check out my food journeys at An Appetite for Adventure!
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Spicy Rice and Beans

A few times I like to cook and eat vegetarian. Ok, so more than sometimes. So basically, multiple times a week, I turn to Matt and say “cook whatever meat you want that goes with this.” The man is a major carnivore, but it does not stop me from my tasty plotting. I started craving rice and beans this week – warm and hearty and perfect in cold weather. When I got home from work, I went for a walk with the dog and the roommates, came home, and had dinner on the table in less than half an hour. A perfect night.

This Week’s Market Finds!

My favorite thing about The Culinary Institute of America is the storeroom. Tourists, of course, would never know it’s there. But it was one of the first places I took my brother when he first came to visit me. I guess it probably seemed a little weird, but to me, it is one of the most magical places on earth. More magical still is that (since I work there) I can do a little grocery shopping there. Here’s the skinny on this week’s scores.

Chinese Long Beans: Yum. Crisp, delicious, wonderfully green. In short, everything you love about green beans though slightly different in texture – slimmer beans. And, of course, they are very, very, very long.

Reliant Grapes: The entire CIA became a buzz with news that Reliant Grapes were in the storeroom. A school-wide favorite, and up there with one of my favorite fruits of all time. Never had a Reliant Grape? Imagine a Concord grape, but without the messy seeds and a less bitter skin. Imagine so much juice popping in your mouth in one tiny little grape that it literally takes your mouth a moment to process it. I spent the whole week dreaming about what to do with them. Naturally, I just ate them raw – they barely made it home! I guess I’ll have to get more.

Trumpet Royale Mushrooms: These bad boys are huge. Their flavor is mild but still distinct. Since Matt and I love mushrooms, I’ve decided to try to take advantage of all the varieties available in the storeroom (there are dozens). I’m still not sure how to best highlight their flavor. Any ideas out there?

Stay tuned! More exciting finds next week!

Giant Burritos with All the Fixins!

There are two parts to this story.

1. I don’t generally love chain restaurants. Sure, I am the occasional patron, but you’d be hard-pressed to find me frequenting the fast food or family-style restaurants that crowd every town’s restaurant landscape. But as with everything, there is one (huge) exception. Chipotle. Oh, how I miss Chipotle. In my hometown, there was one very near my house, and another one on the edge of town – both working to satisfy my gigantic burrito needs. But there is no Chipotle in Hyde Park or it’s surrounding cities. It was a devastating blow to my college years.

2. Funny things happen when you’re jetlagged. Usually, I am dead tired upon returning from a trip of some magnitude and I lounge in bed and struggle to get through the first week as I readjust to reality and my new time zone. But I think I was so used to operating on very little sleep on my European trip, that normal sleeping hours in bed have confounded me. The first night we were home, Matt and I slept at about midnight and found ourselves wide awake at 5:30 a.m. The next day, it was 6:00, and so on. As we strolled the aisles of the grocery store (the only thing to do anywhere at 6:00 a.m. on a Sunday morning), we realized that by shopping for a meal this early, we could do something I hardly ever do on the apartment kitchen – slow cooking techniques. This defies one of the rules I try to abide by – it is not QUICK. But, it’s so incredibly easy that I believe it cancels it out.

It’s the perfect kind of thing to do on a Sunday. Dry rub some ribs, and stick them in the oven at a low temperature, and leave them alone. Then shred the meat, layer it with toppings, and you have one very happy reproduction.

Poblanos Rellenos – Stuffed Poblano Peppers

A friend of mine asked me a few months ago how to reuse leftovers in new ways. Jessica Foulke, if you’re out there, this post is an answer to a question you asked me so long ago. At least, it’s one approach. I love to make “base” dishes that can be used in any number of ways – salads, stuffings, even as toppings for pizza. Think of something with basic layers of flavor, like this combination of beans, corn, rice, and meat. The resulting mix will, inevitably, produce leftovers, but ones that are quite versatile. I love to eat this mixture as a warm salad over wilted greens. Or, alternately, this recipe halves very easily. Then any other ingredients you have leftover can be used for a completely new recipe!