Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Fresh chives from the Farmer's Market


So I went to the Union Square Farmer's Market this week looking for some more ramps, but unfortunately there were none to be found. Not sure if it was because I went on a Monday or whether they are just past their season as this point.

So I took a look around to find something else new and interesting and discovered these lovely fresh chives. The best part is that the chives still have their blossoms. When you smell them though, you get that great, oniony garlic smell.

I didn't even know chives were a flowering plant. I'll have to find something interesting to cook them in.


Back in action


So I've been a bit distracted since my trip to Texas for Mother's Day. I always use trips as an excuse to blow my diet. Which I did this time as well. And although I told myself I'd be back on my diet as of Monday, instead, I let myself get completely distracted in wedding planning! Alex and I finally set a date for the wedding. (More on that here).

However, I'm definitely going to have to get it together and lose some weight before the wedding! So I have some new motivation.

I'd like to figure out adding a new gym membership to my wedding saving budget, but New York gyms can be pricey.

So I'll start by joining Weight Watchers again...

Here we go...

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Uh Oh! Sabotage!


So I've completely fallen off the wagon. Luckily, I have this blog to confess my sins, pick myself back up and keep on going.

I'd been slipping a bit, but then yesterday I just went all-out-off-the-diet. We ordered a pizza and had chips and dessert. Ug. And had my usual old Starbucks breakfast this morning and pizza again for lunch.

No good. I'm just cranky, and that's what I do when I'm cranky.

So I need to just accept my temporary defeat and start over. But I have a trip planned this weekend, so we'll see how this all goes! I will however report back!

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

It's All Good Brand Stuffed Soy Chicken


I'm really liking this new brand It's All Good that I just discovered at Whole Foods.

Today's lunch was the Soy Chicken stuffed with corn and black bean in a tomato sauce. Yum!

Super fast and only three points for those of you on Weight Watchers.

Visit their website to see all the other vegetarian and vegan goodies they sell.

Image via ChowVegan.com.


Kiwi Summer Rolls


Another yummy meal idea, this one courtesy of Martha Stewart. (Of course, look at that presentation!)

Kiwi Summer Rolls.

I love rolls, but I've never made anything with the rice paper wrappers myself. And I've never used kiwi in a dish. Just plain. I do like it however.

I'll definitely have to try this. As you probably know by know, I love Thai and asian inspired food.

See the recipe here.

I'm a Fan of Chef Tom Colicchio


For the rest of you out there who are also fans, the New York Times has an interesting interview with Tom Colicchio. Colicchio owns the Craft chain of restaurants, including my absolute favorite restaurant ever Craft. He's also on the show Top Chef.

In this article, he discusses his West Village apartment (which he rents surprisingly), his family, his life, and of course cooking. He also recommends the one book no one should be without. Jacques P├ępin’s book “La Technique.”

See Colicchio's own books on cooking here. He definitely espouses a philosphy about cooking and technique rather than recipes.

Read the complete article here.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Wow Dish: Baked Paprika Sweet Potato Fries


As a side to the veggie pulled chicken sandwich I had for dinner, I also baked some paprika sweet potato fries.

Another Wow! As you've probably noticed, I've labeled all my hit recipes a wow, that way you'll know what's best if you come searching for recipes. Just browse or search "Wow!" Plus, that way I can access them all easily when I'm putting together my list of meals for the week.

This blog is actually quite cookbook-like for me in that I can keep all my recipes together in one place. On occasion, I have also been known to have my laptop open on the kitchen counter next to me while I cook! I just can't touch it with sticky fingers!

As for these sweet potato fries, I actually tried two options tonight. I cut up one sweet potato (which went a surprisingly long way, PLENTY of fries for two people. Could've been stretched further even). With it, I tried two different options, both from The Kitchn - I think at this point my favorite go-to site for recipes since all of their stuff is so darn good!

Option A was the spicy option with chili pepper. Option B was with paprika. Both are tossed in a bowl with olive oil, salt and pepper. Be careful with the amount of oil you use however, as they seem to absorb it pretty easily.

The chili pepper was just okay, but the paprika just really amped up the natural taste of the sweet potato. Wow that was good!

I've tried sweet potato fries in the past and not liked them, but those weren't with paprika! Do note, however, that the centers do stay pretty soft, even once the outer edges get crispy. I actually cooked mine a bit longer than the recipe required.

Visit the Kitchn for the full recipe/instructions. I'm not a huge fan of rosemary so I didn't try that option, but I'd be curious to know what you think if you do.

Vegetarian Pulled Chicken Sandwich


Just had this It's All Good brand veggie barbecue pulled chicken on a grilled bun for dinner. Only two Weight Watchers points per serving. Two servings per box.

For all you vegetarians/vegans out there, I'd definitely recommend it if you're looking for some variety. Or even if you aren't a vegetarian, but you want a low point meal, this is a good choice.



Is that jar in your fridge still any good?

Ever wonder whether a specific something in your fridge is still okay to eat? You're not alone. Personally, I wonder about that jar of opened salsa. (LOVE Green Mountain Gringo Salsa by the way!)

Well, stilltasty.com has an answer for you. Type the name of the item in question into the box on the top of their homepage, and you'll find an immediate answer looking something like the one below.

So turns out that the open jar of salsa is good in your fridge for a month! Now I know.

Yummy Tofu, Cashew and Boston Lettuce Salad


Another perk of yesterday's Tofu in Thai Peanut Sauce was having all that soft, leafy, nummy Boston lettuce left over. I mixed it with the leftover cashews and tofu from that same meal, plus a boiled egg, parm, and other veg, and voila! I had an awesome salad for lunch today!


Sunday, May 3, 2009

Wow: Asparagus with lemon, almonds & parm


I was cooking dinner tonight and did a quick check to see how long I should steam the asparagus. In searching, I found this phenomenal recipe on how to get your asparagus just right. Instead of steaming or grilling, this recipe calls for parboiling.

Being somewhat of a novice, I didn't actually know what that was, but it turns out I do it all the time. It means boiling something in water that only covers the vegetable half way. That's how I do my corn too!

As a bonus, the recipe also recommends adding lemon rind and parmesan. The lemon rind was such a great addition. I've never cooked or baked with it before. I had already planned on adding almonds, so I included them as well!

See the complete recipe on Simply Recipes.

Single Serving Angel Food Cake


Many dieters choose angel food cake if they're going to indulge, but who's going to bake a whole cake when you just want one piece?

I just found a great solution to that problem. Single serving angel food cakes made in ramekins (those tiny little casserole dishes creme brulee is made in). See the recipe here.

Post via Cakeworks.

No Sugar Banana Bread


I'm not sure what's gotten into me, but I've been baking and cooking up a storm!!

So today I made a revised, diet-version of my mom's banana bread. I substituted the sugar with a sugar-free substitute called Ideal. I also replaced the 2 eggs with 1 egg and 2 egg whites.


In this case, I used chopped hazlenuts as that was surprisingly what was least expensive at the store.

It came out pretty well. Not as phenomenal as mom's original, but still pretty good. To help prevent over-indulging, I sliced and prepackaged each to grab and go for breakfast in the mornings.

Sugar-Free Banana Bread Recipe below:

3/4 c. artificial baking sweetner
1 egg + 2 egg whites
2 c. bisquick or other baking mix
1/4 tsp. baking soda
2 mashed bananas
chopped nuts

Cream sugar and eggs. Add dry ingredients and mix well. Add nuts and bananas. Mix. Pour into greased pan and bake @ 375 degrees for 35 min.

Enjoy!


Wow Meal: Tofu in Thai Peanut Sauce with Cashews and Boston Lettuce

Another wow meal that will definitely make it into our regular rotation. I adapted these chicken and cashews in lettuce cups from the Real Simple website.

My version included baked tofu sauteed in a thai peanut sauce with some crushed cashews sprinkled on top. The tofu was laid out on a bed of Boston lettuce over Thai lime pilaf.

I wasn't sure of the combination of the peanut sauce and the lime rice at first, but it really popped. And the texture and lightness of the Boston lettuce was a great compliment to the texture of the rest of the meal.

The Thai lime pilaf is a rice mixture with lime, coconut, ginger and lemon grass. I actually purchased it pre-packaged at Whole Foods. It's pictured below. I'd love to try more stuff from that same Tasty Bite brand.

Definitely try your own version. Alex had his with chicken. Since the rice was pre-cooked, the whole thing was super quick and easy.



Breakfast Was a Wash


So I've been planning this breakfast the last few days but in the end, it was a bit of a wash. I sauteed the rest of my ramps with the purple Peruvian potatoes I bought. I also used some of them in an egg white omelette with a hint of parmesan. Then I decided to make an adaptation of the maple tempeh bacon recipe I posted previously.

The ramps were of course divine; however, not really loving the purple potatoes. It's hard to explain why but they're just too starchy and potato-y. And the egg white omelette just needed a little something extra. It ended up rather bland despite the ramps. I think I tried to stretch them too far. I needed more obviously for the three meals I've used them for. I will absolutely be buying more!

The maple bacon just didn't work. Less because of the recipe I linked to and more because I used the Smart Bacon pictured below instead of tempeh. I love the Morning Star Farms soy bacon but not this brand. Their other stuff can be good though.

We didn't end up eating the potatoes. I'm going to bake them to a crisp and try them again with dinner. Fingers crossed!

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Looking for Vegetarian Mango Recipes


So in addition to the papaya, I also bought a mango and am now looking for a recipe to use it for.

So far, I'm considering a thai mango salad (since I friggin love Thai food) or this rice and mango salad.

Got any other ideas for me? Please post them in the comments. I'm looking for a meal, salad, or something substantial rather than a drink.

Also, the mango I bought is yellow on the outside rather than red and green. Can anyone tell me the difference?


Vegan Green Papaya Salad


I just bought a papaya at the market and have been looking for something to make with it.

I used to go to this Thai restaurant in Park Slope called Mango that had this incredible green papaya salad, but then I found out that it has shrimp and fish sauce, OH NO!

But I just found a vegan papaya salad recipe on about.com. Looks easy enough to make, but it calls for unripened papaya. I have to admit, I don't have a clue whether the papaya I bought is ripe or not! Guess I'll find out...will post a follow up after I've made it.



Wow Meal: Gourmet, hand-tossed pizza


It's no secret that I love good food, but it has to be something special for me to get really excited.

This pizza did it, and I never like pizza that I make myself. It was very satisfying. I'm full but not overly full. Yum!

Okay, enough hype, to the recipe. I posted a link to the Kitchn's homemade pizza recipe earlier this week and decided to try it tonight. It's enough for two small pizzas, or more if you prefer to cut calories. So Alex made his with ramps and pepperoni, and I did mine with ramps and mushrooms. Wow, it was good. Really it was the crust that did it, but that lovely ramp flavor helped as well.

I did have to learn a couple of things the hard way before I got my pizza to turn out just right.

First of all, this is definitely a chewy crust, so you can't overcook it at all. The edges didn't look as golden as the post described so I let Alex's keep cooking. Big mistake. Way too hard. In fact, his was inedible. Not only because we overcooked it, but also because I used wax paper instead of parchment paper underneath the pizza when cooking. Bad idea. Turns out they aren't the same thing! So the apartment smoked up and the wax paper stuck to the bottom of the pizza! Ooops!

So I learned my lesson and used no wax paper the second time and cooked it less.

When I make this again, I'll put the cheese on sooner and will put the cheese under the veg, etc. The recipe only has the cheese cooking a few minutes which wasn't quite enough.

You have to try it! See the recipe here. Remember, it's the dough that makes it special! (It was super easy...)

Mushroom and Ramp Panini


So my first experiment with ramps was today. I grilled them up with some mushrooms and put them in a panini with some cheese, a hint of tomato sauce and soy Canadian bacon. Next time I might skip the tomato sauce, but the ramps were phenomenal. So good!


Scanned Sandwiches


Just found these on the blog, Milk and Honey Cafe.

Love it! Hillarious. Click through for more scans...

Friday, May 1, 2009

Oh my...I really need to make this!


After my last post about Robin and her Greenmarket cooking, I just explored her cooking blog and found this incredible-looking dish above, Sweet potato dumplings with bok choy and edamame in a sweet miso broth.

I definitely need to try sweet potato dumplings. They sound divine.

And they offer cooking classes on her website. I could definitely use some help when it comes to canning! See the classes here...

Image via Greenmarket Cooking.

Greenmarket Cooking


Despite the rainy weather, I made my way over to the Union Square Farmer's Market today to get some of the ramps I posted about earlier this week. While exploring, I met this lovely woman, Robin, above who was giving a cooking demonstration on how to cook with ramps. She recommended dicing the white bulbs and cooking them first. Then the leaves later as they don't take as long to cook. Though you can cook them all together at once.

The ramps themselves smelled garlicky and rich! YUM! The recipe she provided was for Skillet Potatoes with Ramps which included paprika. I never would've thought of that! Can't wait to try it this weekend. For the potatoes, I got some purple Peruvian potatoes from the vendor Berried Treasures, shown below, also at the Union Square Farmer's Market. That's where I got the ramps too.

The gorgeous purple potatoes are shown at the very bottom.




Visit Robin's website NYKitchenco here.

La Colombe Torrefaction


It's nice to know that despite the diet, I don't have to give up a really great cup of coffee. My friend Mary treated me to a cup at the posh little coffee shop across the street from our office this afternoon, La Colombe Torrefaction.

I love that place, and their coffee, although strong, is very good.

And how awesome is that little embellishment they do with the milk!

Plus, we had a Gabriel Byrne sighting while there too. Another perk!

Thanks Mary!


Uh oh! Cupcakes!


I was being all good today. Had my fruit and egg for breakfast and brought a healthy lunch of veggie chili and carrots with me, but then...I got to work and saw that my boss brought cupcakes from a cute little bakery called Buttercup that I've never tried before.

This time, I couldn't eat just half. I ate the whole thing.

But being a cupcake connoisseur, I always have to try cupcakes from bakeries I've never been to before!

It was a cute little vanilla cupcake with pink icing and sprinkles.

However, instead of posting a picture of the cupcakes and sabotaging you as well, I've only shown the box they came in above. Click here to see the actual cupcakes if you aren't as susceptible to cravings as I am!

Had you asked me previously, I would have said that starches were as much my downfall as sweets, but diet-wise, I've been fine about the savory stuff. It's definitely the sugar that does me in!

So this is how my day started...


I got up early (for me) and had a healthy breakfast. My usual iced decaf coffee plus fresh strawberries and a boiled egg.

The bodega down the street sells boiled eggs for 50 cents, and I've been buying them when I want a quick, solid snack.

But last night, I was wondering why I'm paying that much for them when I can just boil my own. 50 cents is probably the cheapest thing in the store though, so from that perspective, buying "convenience food" for that price is a steal.

However, why pay more when you don't have to. So I boiled some eggs last night, had one in my salad for dinner and anoterh for breakfast this morning.

Listened to some music and have been having a great day.

However, when I got to work...things changed.

Post to be continued after my meeting! ha!