08 October 2012

avocado + caprese egg toast

This morning I woke in a funk. I got a crummy voicemail, I had a denied loan deferment lingering over my head and my toes were cold.

Instead of listening to the grumbling in my head about these issues with my reality, I decided to do something about the hunger in my stomach.

Enter caprese egg toast. Don't have a toaster? Not even a toaster oven? No problem. Place your toast in the oven on broil, making sure to flip it half way through. After you've made fried your eggs with butter and cheese of your choice (I chose a mozza/parm blend), smear some ripe avocado on the toasty bread. Who needs more butter when you've got an open avocado in your fridge? Slice some tomato nice and thin, and then after you've placed the cheesy eggs on your bountiful toast, sprinkle some basil on there.

Go ahead, make yourself some delicious toast when you're down. Put on a pot of french roast and enjoy your morning. It'll not only make your stomach happy, but it'll remind you that even the smallest things in life can make you smile. 

03 September 2012

savoring the journey

I went through a period of readinglessness.

Readinglessness, adj. Characterizing listlessness and indifference of literature majors towards the written word post-graduation. 

But, now... Oh now, I'm getting back into text in a big way. I've made a few resolutions for our move to Boston. And two of them deal specifically with this turning away from the aforementioned lethargy. Goodbye, reading/writing sabbatical!

1) write more. There was once a time in my life where I wrote all the time. Where the need to produce some sort of text that reflected my muddled thoughts was a tangible urge... if I didn't I felt incomplete. Lost. I'm trying to get back into it. And that means wading through choppy fragments and run-ons in order to get my stuff down. This blog will become more of an outlet for that.

2) read. I recently finished a fantastic compilation of advice column letters by Cheryl Strayed called Tiny Beautiful Things: Advice on Life and Love by Sugar. What a seriously incredible book. There were so many entries that spoke to me. If you have a chance, pleasepleaseplease pick it up. You won't regret it.

I'm also juggling a couple of collections of short stories.

Love/Imperfect by Christopher T. Leland
i am no one you know by Joyce Carol Oates
With the commute on the T in town everyday, I thought I'd get re-acclimated to reading by getting my feet wet in deliciously bite-sized stories. Mmmm...

Well, that's my little nugget for the day. I figure, why jump into these things when I can go about them languorously, savoring the journey?

31 August 2012

tricolor thyme and garlic quinoa + cod filets

It's official: we've moved to Boston. 
And after all that roadtrip food and all those questionable ingredients, 
I thought quinoa, green beans, tomato, avocado and breaded cod would be lovely.
And it was. 

More to come from this new kitchen in MA.
It's huge. 

30 May 2012

three salads and a soup

It's hot. What does one crave in steamy weather? Well this one craves salad. In its many forms.  

Pasta salad // crostini
The trick with pasta salads is that you have to let them marinate - the longer the better. Topping al dente pasta salad with crunchy and rich crostini makes a carby but delicious meal.

1/2 lb penne and 1/b rotini
1/2 onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves 
1/2 cup chopped zuchinni
1/2 cup yellow bell pepper
2/3 pint of cherry tomatoes
1 small bunch of asparagus

1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
3 cloves crushed garlic
dried oregano, basil
1 and 1/2 tbsp dijon mustard

a good hard bread (like ciabatta) slice cut into half-inch slices
extra virgin olive oil drizzled over bread
toppings (fresh mozarella and basil, tomatoes, smoked salmon and dill)

toast bread in a preheated 350-degree oven for 3 minutes on both sides. 

Chicken salad
I just made this salad for the second time. Like the pasta salad, this simple chicken salad is even better on days two and three. Try on some of that ciabatta or straight up.

1 lb poached chicken breast*
1 pint halved grapes
juice of half a lemon
1/2 cup chopped almonds
2 heaping tbsp mayonnaise
1 tsp Dijon mustard
cumin, salt and paper to taste
1 tsp paprika 

*I used dried basil, oregano, parsley, bay, garlic powder and thyme. I also used 2 and 1/2 cups of water. 

Mixed greens and strawberries // vegetable soup
When I found this recipe for a mixed green and strawberries, I knew I had to try it. Balsamic is perhaps a surprising coupling for a berry, but they compliment each other quite nicely indeed.  Homemade pepper-bacon bits sprinkled over the top added the perfect smokiness to the balance the tangy vinegar.

The soup I made was based with the broth leftover from the poached chicken from above. Waste not, want not, right?

3 cups of homemade chicken broth
1/2 shallot
3 cloves of garlic
1/2 onion
dried oregano, basil, thyme, salt, pepper
1 and 1/2 cups of farfalline pasta
assorted frozen veggies: peas, green beans, corn

Up next: potato salad, and more with greens, nuts and fruits. I'm thinking something with peaches, pecans and kale. mmm.
It's a gonna be a good summer. 

24 April 2012

salmon + asparagus + potato

We haven't cooked in a while. Like a real meal. You know, one of those that you take time to do, take time to eat and enjoy.

Following this baked potato recipe gave us an hour. So tonight, we made pistachio and sesame cracker encrusted salmon, seasoned with dill, basil, salt, pepper and a little bit of extra virgin. The vegetable? Some beautifully unadulterated and vibrant organic asparagus.

Of course, some Highland Pale Ale was a lovely sidekick. 


10 April 2012

spicy ramen stir fry

Spice caps: there are two ways to open them. 1) flip the top and proceed with a conservative shake-it-out method, OR 2) go for daring with the unscrew-and-eyeball-it method. Well, I inadvertently hopped on a crazy train last night and shook about 1/2 cup of red pepper flakes into our tofu and veggie stir fry. See the all those fiery flakes?

The solution: 

Even with a pack of these fast-cooking noodles, the broccoli, carrot, corn and green bean stir fry was still coated with the little red pepper.

This picture doesn't look spicy, but whoa-nelly, was it hot. 

sesame oil, 1 tablespoon
canola oil, 1/2 tablespoon
soy sauce, 1/2 tablespoon or to taste
basil, 1/2 teaspoon
garlic, 6 cloves
red pepper flakes, to taste
firm tofu, 1 pack
whichever vegetables (carrots, broccoli, corn, greenbeans, sprouts, watercress, bok choy...)
Add to a cool pan the first 4 items. Raise temperature to about medium low heat, stirring garlic in the oils to infuse. Add tofu and raise temperature to medium high heat, making sure to saute and coat the tofu in the oils. Start to boil water for ramen. Add vegetables (I would suggest longest cooking ones first) and cook for an additional 5-7 minutes. Sprinkle basil and red pepper flakes, and stir for another 3 or so minutes. Add ramen to boiling water, and when finished, introduce noodles to pan and mix to coat. 

Our happened-upon ramen was not for the faint of heart or delicate of stomachs. It was so tasty but so spicy; my lips were burning the rest of the night. I want to try this again while being more aware of the dual-functions of the spice cap! It's a great fast meal if you're under a time crunch and want something nutritious. Substitute the ramen for brown rice, or go with just the veggies. Mmmm!

30 March 2012

awol science: jalapeno chip taste test

Ever had an amazing chip experience? Like one that you would want to share with the world, shouting from the rooftops your love for thinly sliced potatoes? If not, this post  -- assuming that your taste buds waver on the side of adventurous --may take you there.

One lovely day, my comrades at the library's special collections and I used our lunch time to ascertain which of four common chip brands had the best jalapeno chip. 

The contenders & their sponsors: 

This is Jessica. To the party, she brought some Lay's Kettle Cooked Jalapeno chips. Jessica confesses that she has a love for spicy food, but had never before tried these Lay's. She likes ambient music, computer games, and is a super fast typist. 

Meet Erica (of streetmanner). It was a conversation with Erica that this whole idea of a chip taste test was conceived. She brought Cape Cod Sweet and Spicy Jalapeno chips. As one could gather from her blog, she loves fashion, plants and tea.
Hi, Lu! Another spicy food enthusiast, Lou brought these Ms. Vickie's variety of jalapeno chips. Besides being a music major and working in the archives, he dapples in creating gluten-free wonders, such as some delicious unleavened Norwegian bread.
And this is me with a bag of my beloved Zapp's, which in my opinion, is best enjoyed with a ham and cheese sandwich with some dijonnaisse. 

The criteria: 

We judged each of the chip brands on their spiciness, flavor, texture, smell and what Erica called, "after-effects." As seen here, we each rated the flavors on a scale from one-to-ten.

The different brands all had something going for them. So instead of awarding an overall "best" to one, we indicated what each type had.

Honorable Mention and Best Fake Flavor

Miss Vickie's had a slight cheesiness to them that set it apart from the rest. As such, and not exactly tasting of the pepper, we decided it had the best artificial flavor.

Most Authentic Jalapeno Flavor

Ever bitten into a jalapeno? Well, you wouldn't have to with a handful of these babies. YUM. My favorite.


Now, I thought the Zapp's were spicier, but the Cape Cods had a sort of tricky spiciness: as the sweetness of cheap lured you into a safe spot, its hot counterpart kicked in gave your tastebuds a jolt. Eat one after the other, and that sneaky, compounding sort of spiciness was a building fire in our mouths.

Best Texture

One word: CRUNCH.

One thing I would recommend when trying four different types of spicy chips (spicy anything, for that matter) is that you would have something to quench the thirst that ensues. Phew.

13 March 2012

biscoff ice cream + espresso

One of the perks of working at a local ice cream shop is creating treats. 

biscoff ice cream

Biscoff ice cream is a Hop Ice Cream creation <3

27 February 2012

spinach stuffed chicken + pesto pasta

What to do with a 5oz container of fresh spinach on the brink of expiration?
We stuffed this chicken* with almonds, red onions, crushed sesame melba crackers, tomatoes, bel paese and spinach. I had some leftover chardonnay that I put in the dish in the oven, and with ten minutes left on the timer, I added of a few strips of smoked gouda to melt over the top. To the leftover stuffing, I added jarred pesto to create a sauce for the pasta.


*this was a really funny process. I wish I had video :)

22 February 2012

salmon + quinoa + kale

After an indulgent 5-day trip to New Orleans, I thought it best to cook a wholesome and healthy meal.
Broiled salmon, marinated in lemon juice and sprinkled with basil, salt and pepper was delicious with garlic and onion steamed kale over a bed of quinoa.


Here's a snap-shot of some of the New Orleanian cuisine.
Shrimp cacciatori, roasted potatoes, crab cakes and steamed asparagus. 

YUM. I love food. 

11 February 2012

snowy saturday

"This may be said for the last quarter of the twentieth century: the truism that if we want a better world we will have to be better people came to be acknowledged, if not thoroughly understood, by a significantly large minority. Despite the boredom and anxiety of the period, or because of it, despite the uneasy seas that separated the sexes, or because of them, thousands of thousands seemed willing to lend their bodies..."
- Still Life with Woodpecker, Tom Robbins

10 February 2012

Almond&sea salt dark chocolate

Delicious. So glad I outed the $4 -- I'll savor it more!

Thanks to Miss Anna Spears for posting about this chocolate! 

09 February 2012


I just made some baller collard greens. 

This picture does not do them justice. 

1 tbspn olive oil
1 tbspn butter
1 lb collards
1 can of roasted chopped tomatoes
red pepper flakes
salt and pepper
couple dashes of soy sauce
4 cups of water

I'm not much for measuring things, but I am very much for tasting as you go. I let the greens cook covered for about an hour and they were deliciously tender. Served over a some red beans and rice (canned) in a bowl made for a wonderful (lateish) dinner!

06 February 2012

bok choy + crab cakes

Carrots, zuchinni, squash, bok choy in an onion and garlic, sesame oil sauce & WholeFoods crabcakes covered in crushed sesame Melba crackers paired with a glass of $3 Three Wishes Cabernet Sauvignon makes for a delicious Monday night meal. 


25 January 2012

seven-mile walk/run

What does one do on a beautiful afternoon? 
Walk all over town, apparently. :)

24 January 2012

bathing in sunshine.

Today was wonderful. 

I overcame some fears and climbed a fire tower.

Had fun with someone I love. 

And appreciated the beauty around me. 

21 January 2012