• 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!

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    em570039@mycia.net

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Creamy Red Quinoa

I’ve loved quinoa since the first time I tasted it. I knew it was this super healthy whole grain sold only in health food stores (i.e. not exactly a reason to get super excited). But from first bite I was hooked. The texture is amazing – like tiny pieces of popcorn, and the flavor is perfect – slightly nutty but still mild enough to take on any flavors you add to it. I kept this dish simple by adding lots of garlic and onions and cooking it in chicken broth. Using broth instead of water makes incredibly buttery tasting grains. To give it a bit of creaminess, I added a little bit of Greek yogurt, which made it almost decadent. And in the spirit of the New Year, it couldn’t be more good for you. Yum yum.

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Quick Wonton Soup

I don’t (generally speaking) order a lot of take out. Ordering take out is sort of a special occasion for me. When I am too busy to cook, which is almost never, I have to admit it is fun to not only let someone else do the cooking for you, but bring it to your door as well.

Recent cravings for Chinese take out soup led me to this incredibly easy recipe. It may not be quite the same as your local take out joint, and it is certainly not traditional, but it was inspired by having several assorted cans of broth and not being sure what to do. I sort of “fortified” the broths with scallions, garlic, and ginger – and the mixture of the three broths was quite delicious and tasted fabulous with my standard wonton/dumpling filling. So, I’m calling it “Quick Wonton Soup”. Sure, it takes a little while to form the wontons, but the opening the can part couldn’t be easier. ūüôā

Garlicky Stir Friend Brussels Sprouts with Soy and Szechuan Peppercorns

Matt loves brussels sprouts. I mean loves them. There have been times when it seems he likes them even more than (gasp!) meat. Ok, ok not as much as meat…but it’s close. And as much as I love Matt, I couldn’t bear to keep making brussels sprouts the same old way. So this creation, while not typical, was a welcome one at our dinner table last week.

Crispy Pork Eggrolls

Matt and I love dumplings, primarily because they are one food that are wonderful when cooked using one of our favorite methods: steaming. I also love to make my own dumplings with fresh dough, but we were feeling lazy one Sunday, and stood in the aisle looking down at pre-made thin wonton wrappers. But in one guilty moment, the idea of frying our normally healthy dumplings simultaneously popped into both of our minds. We looked up at eachother, and tossed some eggroll wrappers in our cart. What can I say? Sometimes fried is just better.

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Ravioli with Roasted Chanterelles, Garlic, and Bacon with Pepadew Peppers

I scored some gorgeous chanterelle mushrooms from the storeroom this weekend. I felt like I’d been eating a lot of pasta recently, but I couldn’t help but think of making some fresh pasta that I could fill with the mushrooms. I roasted them with garlic, onions, and bacon and then sauteed the finished ravioli in butter with¬†sweet¬†peppadew¬†peppers. The whole process would be easier with a pasta machine – but it is possible to do it with a rolling pin and some brute strength! I love making oversized raviolis that can hold a lot of filling – and they look so great on the plate.

Mediterranean Vegetable Sandwich with Sundried Tomato Pesto and Fresh Mozzarella

One of my favorite pastimes is roaming the produce aisle at Adams Fairacre Farms. I know I’ve waxed poetic about well-stocked groceries and farmer’s markets before, but every time I go to Adams, I’m reminded why I love to cook. It’s like a dream – all of the produce is gleaming and primarily local, the cheese section is a mile long, and the butcher and fish counters are after my own heart with fresh daily cuts and catches.

Over the weekend, it was a tiny Italian eggplant that caught my eye. Even though they’re overpriced because of their cuteness, I couldn’t resist a 2 inch beauty. The idea struck to make a Mediterranean veggie sandwich. I supplemented my eggplant with bell pepper, squash, mushrooms, and red onions. I bought a loaf of crusty bread, a round of freshly pulled mozzarella, and went home – giddier than usual. The resulting lunch kept me smiling all day!

Okonomiyaki

While Matt is a very willing and accepting taste tester, I like to use nights when I’m by myself to try new things or things that don’t quite meet his criteria. He’ll eat almost anything, but he definitely prefers a big slab of meat in the center of the plate. On nights when I’m on my own, I often opt for vegetarian or super-light dishes…like this awesome Okonomiyaki.

Okonomiyaki is a Japanese pancake made with vegetables. I got a basic recipe from Kevin at Closet Cooking, though I made a few tweaks – added different veggies (you can really use anything you need to use up) and added a tasty dipping sauce. It was quick, comforting, and used up a lot of veggies that were about to go bad! It was so good, I might have to reconsider and make this for Matt!