• 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!


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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.


Coconut Rice Pudding

I’ve been working late on some birthday cakes (soon to be seen in an upcoming post) and after I’m done, I’m wiped out. Tonight my roommate and I went to a local diner for dinner. As we got ready to pay the bill, she said “I think I’ll get some rice pudding to take home with us.” I said no way…there’s nothing better than homemade rice pudding.

And just like that, I was back in the kitchen again.

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Coconut Red Curry Lentils n’ Rice

This blog is about food…but a few people have pointed out to me that the little snippets of text here and there really tie it together. Because it’s not always enough to grab a recipe and run – some of you like a little splash of real life in there too.

We had a fire at my house this week. Yes. It doesn’t get much more real than that. There is minimal damage and everyone and everything is safe (minus my bath mats, shower curtain, toilet seat and the tile in the bathroom). It happened in the middle of the night, which made it extra scary and I spent the next day recovering by ordering Chinese food. Yes…I don’t cook well (for myself) under pressure. But by the next day I had gathered my head and made something simple – a one pot meal that was fast and easy but quite comforting in it’s own right. Lentils and brown rice smothered in creamy coconut red curry. It was delicious and wonderfully spicy (great with a glass of something spritzy). You know what they say, after all, – fight fire with fire…

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.

Creamy Coconut Stir Fry

div>Matt and I rarely argue about food. We rarely argue at all, but he certainly (and most faithfully) eats whatever I plan to make. But yesterday he was in the mood for steak, and I was craving a Thai-inspired dish. So we did something we don’t normally do, we entered the store and later, the kitchen, divided. He made his steak, and I made a stir fry with crisp veggies and creamy coconut rice. Coconut water is something I love to use – it adds incredible coconut flavor without any fat, unlike coconut milk (another favorite ingredient). In the end, he cut me off a piece of his steak, and helped himself to a heaping spoonful of the rice. Because even when we do argue about food, it doesn’t change the fact that we’re hungry for more.

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Indian Spiced Pork

Ok. So I admit it. I’m an Indian food junkie. It is what it is. And while there is a huge array of Indian recipes out there: my favorites tend to be those covered in thick, creamy sauces. Incredibly delicious, of course, but not incredible for the waistline. So I got the idea the other day to make a dish with all the flavors of one of my favorite Indian dishes – Rogan Josh – with a healthier edge. Rogan Josh is usually made with lamb, but I switched my recipe to pork (primarily due to a current lack of lamb in my store) and lightened up the sauce with tomato and Greek yogurt – so you still get a little bit of that creaminess going on.

The result was amazing – all Indian food is packed with flavor due to all the incredible spices, but in this dish they came through even more because they were’nt smothered behind an overly thick, fatty sauce. Don’t get me wrong, I’ll never abandon my now-perfected Chicken Tikka Masala recipe, but this does provide an answer for all you Indian food junkies out there who are occasionally looking for a healthier option (you know who you are).


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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!