February 10, 2010
Last night, I informed Mr. Onepot that we were about to order Chinese. Then, out of some poorly defined but quite persistent guilt, I found myself preparing the following:
Polenta+spinach+black bean strata
- 3 cups water + 1 cup milk
- 1.25 cup polenta
- .5 large onion
- 1 can black beans
- .5 lb spinach (fresh, in this case, but surely frozen would also do)
- 1 cup plain yogurt
- 1 egg
- salt, cayenne pepper, smoked paprika to taste
- Preheat the oven to 380F.
- Bring the water and milk to a boil. (Remember that milk will trick you into thinking it’s nowhere near boiling, and then, in less than a second, puff up to an obscene height and spill all over your stove top. So, sorry to say, you will have to babysit this just a bit.)
- Once it boils, stir in the polenta and salt. Turn the heat down to low and cook for another 4-5 minutes, stirring only occasionally. (This you don’t have to babysit! I’ve never understood why people complain about the intense attention polenta requires. In the Old Country, we treat it roughly and it turns out just fine.)
- While the milk+water are heating up, start sauteing the onion. Once it’s soft and happy, add the beans along with a touch of their liquid. Season ever so generously with paprika and cayenne pepper.
- After the beans and onions have had, say, 5 minutes to get to know each other, turn the heat off, toss the spinach on top of them, and cover. The residual heat will cause the spinach to wilt just a touch, making it more manageable.
- In an altogether unrelated bowl (oh, this is so not a one-pot dish), beat the egg and combine with the yogurt.
- Layer! First the polenta, then the beany and spinachy mix, and finally the yogurty egg.
- Bake uncovered for 20-25 minutes.
(…In the end, I was so very glad we hadn’t ordered Chinese.)
January 27, 2010
January 5, 2010
December 28, 2009
You don’t mind my tinkering with your lovely pancake recipe, right? We go a long way back, you and I: all the way to my dirt-poor student days when I couldn’t wait to pick up your infant-sized Sunday self from street vendors on Broadway late every Saturday night. (Oh, how your “Home & Garden” section gave me hope then, by reminding me that someday I, too, may have a kitchen larger than my underwear drawer.) So, thanks for being a good sport about the liberties I’ve taken with your recipe. Here goes my interpretation, in which many shortcuts are taken, nothing gets sifted, and hazelnuts make a surprise appearance.
New York Times oatmeal+buttermilk+blueberry pancakes
- 2 eggs, whisked
- 2 cups buttermilk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 tablespoon canola oil
- 1 cup whole wheat flour
- 1/2 cup white flour
- 1/2 cup rolled oats
- 1/3 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/3 cup ground hazelnuts
- a fistful of frozen blueberries (yes, those farmers’ market lovelies earmarked last summer for a gray December day just like this)
- Combine the first four ingredients.
- Add the rest. (I suppose you could sift the flour–but why?)
- Wake up the husband to…
- Cook the pancakes on a griddle, 1-2 minutes per side.
November 30, 2009
So you just had a marvelous four-day break and are feeling a bit insulted by the harsh return to reality? Here, try some of this:
Baked oatmeal with apple + cranberry sauce
- 1 large apple, peeled and shredded
- 1.5 cup rolled oats
- 3 cups water
- leftover cranberry sauce
- Combine the oats, water, and apple in a baking dish and bake on 400F for 20 minutes.
- Add the cranberry sauce to the top and bake for another 5 minutes or so.
- Serve with honey.
Yes, I suppose you will still have to go out and brave the world. But you will be going out with something righteous and warm in your tummy, and that helps a little. (Oh, and coffee? That helps a lot.)
November 28, 2009
Remember how the witch in “Hansel and Gretel” kept Hansel in a cage and fed and fed and fed him to fatten him up? (Oh wait–is this another one of those stories that has a gentler American version?) Well, I’ve spent the last week feeling a bit like Hansel. First there were the four days in New Orleans, each of which typically started with something like this:
and ended with something like this:
with a bit of something like this in between:
And then we returned home to not one but TWO back-to-back Thanksgiving dinners:
Turns out, even a scrawny woman with a pro-wrestler’s appetite needs to rest after a multi-day food marathon like that. And you know what’s a restful, soothing, straight-back-to childhood dish that really hits the spot at a time like this?…
- 1.5 cup rice (combination of wild, brown basmati, arborio… or whatever you have)
- 3.5 cups milk (skim, in our case, since that’s what we had–but how could additional fat here not be tasty?)
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- a splash of vanilla
- a dash of cinnamon
- Combine everything and bring to a boil.
- Turn the heat down and simmer on low until soft.
(If you’re using a pressure cooker–which is just perfect for this, because you don’t have to worry about the milk boiling over and making a mess all over your stove–wait until you hear the whistle. Once you’ve turned down the heat, 15 minutes in the pressure cooker should do the trick; it will take more like 25+, and some intermittent stirring, in a regular pot.)
This is a fabulous starting point. From here, you may decide that you want to add more sugar, or honey, or some powdered chocolate…
Best enjoyed curled up on a sofa with one husband, two cats, and three episodes of Mad Men.
November 15, 2009
The following were my sources of inspiration for this scrumptious bit of fall in a bowl:
- Last Saturday, mid-morningish, my husband staggered into the kitchen– squinting and yawning and scratching his chest–to ask, “What are you cooking?” “Nothing,” I said; the extent of my culinary prowess up to that point had involved starting a pot of coffee. And then I got it. Our home did smell mindbogglingly of apples and vanilla! …but only because I had just plugged in a Method air freshener. While I was pretty darn pleased that cheating made my home smell like I had just made something delicious, I did feel a little twinge of guilt for shattering Mr. Onepot’s morning enthusiasm, that most fragile of things.
- This Saturday morning, this motley crew stared at me woefully as I sipped my coffee, as if to say, “We know you’re going out of town later in the week and there’s no way we’re all going to get eaten by then.” They know me so well.
- Our dustbunnies had morphed into dustbears, and the most solid excuse I could come up with for ignoring them involved apples and oatmeal and cinnamon and nutmeg.
- Smitten Kitchen offered this idea some weeks back, and I was instantly onboard. But then, you know, I don’t plan. While our kitchen is well-stocked, it’s well stocked according to moi (capers! fillo dough! chutney!); that means that there’s no shredded coconut, for instance, at any given point in time. Almonds? Ditto. This also gives you some insight into the main reason why I can’t follow recipes: I typically decide to make something at the very last minute, once it’s dark out and I’ve had a glass of wine and no one is about to go out again. Or, it’s Saturday morning and I’m squinting and yawning and scratching my chest in my jammies. So, you know, I wing it. A lot.
This particular version of winging it goes something like this:
- 5-6 apples (see picture above to get a rough idea of just how much room for experimentation you have here)
- juice of a 1/2 small lemon
- dashes of cinnamon, nutmeg, cardamom
- 1 tsp brown sugar
- 1 tsp butter
- 3 tsp honey
- 1 + 1/2 cup rolled oats
- 1/4 cup flour
- Cut up the apples into any kind of slices; coat them with lemon juice, brown sugar, spices.
- In a small pan, heat the butter and honey until combined. (Thanks, Smitten Kitchen! Turns out it’s honey that my crisps have been missing all this time.) Add flour and oats; stir to combine.
- Spread the apples in a baking dish and cover with the crisp mixture. Bake on 400F for ~45 minutes; check the crisp around that time to see if the apples are blissfully gooey or need another 5-10 minutes.
Ta-da! Edible air freshener.
November 14, 2009
I gave the herbs on our deck a buzz cut following that first wave of mid-October frost. The party was over, I assumed, as I set an armful of oregano and thyme and sage to dry while muttering unladylike things about being cheated out of my favorite season.
Turns out, however, that the herbs interpreted that haircut , along with the current spell of intoxicatingly delicious weather, as an invitation to sprout dozens and dozens of new leaves:
Silly herbs! This can only end in heartbreak. But, I figured: as long as they are here, they should come in and hop into some breakfast:
- 1/2 small red onion
- 2 eggs
- 2 tablespoons plain fat-free yogurt
- salt and white pepper to taste
- oregano, thyme, sage (or, really, whichever herbs you have/like… but I recommend not skipping the sage, since it adds a touch of je ne sais quoi to the eggs)
- Saute the onion with a dash of salt and pepper, until it’s all soft and jolly.
- While that’s going on, whisk 2 eggs. (I don’t know why I just said “whisk,” since my whisk hasn’t seen the light of day in ages. A fork will do just fine.) Add the yogurt and herbs and stir to combine.
- Pour the egg+yogurt mixture onto the onions. Cook on low for ~4-5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
The outcome will make you quite happy, especially if followed by some apple crisp… But more about that later, as Mr. Onepot and I are off to catch the remaining hours of sunshine along Lake Shore Drive.
October 27, 2009
This made me curse a little less at 6:47 AM.