Friday, April 10, 2009

quinoa chickpea and sweet pepper salad

I've been ass-deep in exams lately, and so eating has been limited to things that are fast. My latest staple is something that is easy to make and keeps nicely in the fridge for daaaays.

It is maybe the easiest thing ever.

1 part cooked quinoa (great for leftovers)
1 part canned and drained chickpeas
1 part chopped sweet pepper (whatever colour you have on hand). 
garnish/ mix in some fresh chopped green onion stem if you're in to onions if not, leave 'em out. I won't lose sleep over it.

Mix and add your favourite dressing. (I like you-must-make-this-dressing from Vegan a Go Go)

(only add the dressing right before eating, I keep the mix, minus the dressing in a tupperware in the fridge dish it up and dig in. it's one of those foods thats absolutely fabulous cold, so great for being busy or stuck somewhere where theres nothing delicious.)

Quinoa and chickpeas are both packed with protein, and peppers add a delightful crunch and sweetness. (Plus, probably some vitaminies too:) ) 

Sunday, November 30, 2008

foodsex: spaghettini nests with tomato sauce, tofu, almonds, garlic and sesame seeds

Oh my god.

So, crazy busy times right now, and I figured I'd whip something up for my roommate and I to eat on the fly. One of those, what's in the fridge right now kinda things.

This is what I found.

Ingredients (for two servings):

1 can pizza sauce (49 cents.)
4 spaghettini nests (out of a package of a lot, I'd say total cost less than 50 cents, but probably way less) (yeh, you could use reg pasta of any kind, i just find it prettier this way.)
italian seasoning (like, 2 cents.)
chopped almonds (maybe a quarter? maybe.)
sesame seeds (again, maybe like a quarter.)
4 cloves garlic (like 10 cents.)
splash olive oil (like 10 cents? maybe.)
quarter package of italian tofu (reg tofu with garlic and herbs, reg would work just fine, though i'd probably marinate it) (pkg = 2$, so quarter package= 50 cents)

Put a pot of water on to boil. When it does, throw in the spaghettini. Meanwhile, throw the pizza sauce (if you only have marinara on hand, use that, but you'll need less, since the cans tend to be bigger), garlic, italian seasoning and olive oil on to simmer. Throw the tofu, diced into bite sized bits, which I like to cut into triangles instead of squares, it makes them more appealing, especially if you're serving meat eaters.) When the pasta's ready (about 5 min), the sauce should be done simmering, and the tofu heated through.

Try and maintain the shape of the spaghettini nests, or pile whatever other pasta you picked on a plate, 1 nest for a sidedish, 2 or three for a main course. Put the tofu chunks on the pasta, and top with the remainder of the sauce. Throw more italian seasoning, almonds, sesame seeds and salt to taste. I like to garnish with parsely, but I'm a weirdo and take pictures of my food.

Then try not to eat it all in one breath. It's that effin good.

(2.20 for two servings, or four sidedishes.)

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Soy Milk Chai Latté

In the early morning, when I have way too much homework to do, all I wanted was a cup of tea with Cow Juice. I of course, have not purchased milk in quite a while, and don't have any in the fridge. I didn't want to go buy any, both because it's minus a million out there, and because I've made it this long, right?

So, I made myself pretty well the most delicious Vanilla Soy Milk Latté for breakfast, and now that I'm awake from the espresso in that, and since it's still frosty outside, I thought I would make, and share on here, the most delicious thing I've made in a while.

Chai Latté
3/4 cup soy milk (or rice milk, almond milk, etc)
Chai Tea bag
1/3 c water

In a good microwave safe mug, pop the Chai tea bag and the water in the microwave for 2-3 minutes (you can also let it steep with boiling water, but I find it faster in the microwave) while you steam the milk (if you don't have a milk steamer like on an espresso machine, you can heat it in a sauce pan, but it really isn't nearly as good).

Once the milk is all frothy and delicious, pour in the chai tea concentrate out of the microwave, along with the sugar (which you can omit entirely if you're not a sugar fiend like me), finally top the froth with the cinnamon. (if you are feeling really energetic, you can use a stencil and be extra fancy!)

Enjoy and stare at the snow outside and feel especially cozy!

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Asparagus, Potatoes and BBQ Tofu

So, instead of a detailed and complicated recipe, today I'm just going to write up a delicious meal of (you guessed it) asparagus, potatoes and tofu.

A Note on Mushy Asparagus.
The first thing I want to touch on here is the asparagus. Seriously, it should be crisp. I don't care who you are or how many teeth you may (or may not) have, asparagus shouldn't be mushy. If you don't like asparagus, did you only ever try it mushy? 'Cuz I wouldn't like it mushy either. It should just go in the steamer long enough to get bright green and cooked, but not NOT mushy. Remember too, that it will cook a little more after you take it out of the steamer (or double boiler) for a bit (because it's still so hot inside). So, asparagus, not mushy. Steam 'til green, throw some olive oil (or butter if you want, or margarine if you want that.) and sea salt. It's freakin' delicious.

A lot of people boil their potatoes before pan frying them. I don't know why. I find them, (again) way too mushy this way. If you absolutely want to, you can, but try it ONCE without boiling them first. Potates are so freakin' cheap that it'll cost you like thirty cents to try it, and I'm sure you've spent more than that on trying something new that won't turn out nearly as delicious as this.

So, start a frying pan going (med temp) with oil (I like using safflower oil, but it's not all that cheap, and any oil will work, though I wouldn't use olive oil since this is gonna get pretty hot, and the olive oil taste won't really coem through with all the shit I'm going to throw on the potatoes, so it's not really cost effective.) and start chopping the potatoes. How big? As big as you want, though I like to get them pretty small, with no edge longer than an inch. Throw all that in there. Let them cook, stirring as often as you remember to. Throw some italian seasoning up in there.

Now, one they've been cooking for a bit and are starting to brown a little, toss in garlic. How much? I love garlic and go one and a half to two cloves per serving. This is a LOT. I love it though. You may be okay with half a clove to one clove per person, though it's going to cook a bit and isnt going to be crazy pungent. Use your tastes. Last toss in soem chopped onion. I use purple 'cuz they're prettier. I chop 'em pretty coarsely and they turn out great.

Once the potatoes are cooked through (if you don't know how to check, it's the simplest thing in the world. Take one out of the pan, and eat it. You can't die from undercooked potato. But since you had to ask how to check, I'm going to remind you that this is coming out of a hot pan, it's hot, and you could burn yourself, dumbass.) they're done. Eat them. I like to garnish with parsley and a couple pieces of the leftover purple onions.

Here comes the fun part:

BBQ Tofu

I always freeze and defrost the tofu. It makes it a bit tougher and more meat-like. Then I marinate it in ordinary BBQ sauce (store bought and homemade are both good, just make sure it's a generally delicious kind) for at least a couple hours, finally just frying it up in a pan and dousing it in the leftover marinade (remembering never to uset he marinade again if you were marinading meat cuz tofu doesn;t have any of the bad stuff that raw meat does. Just to clarify in case of you were planning on substituting.)

Then, serve. Even the boy carnivores in my house couldn't get enough of the tofu.

Saturday, October 11, 2008


I like to pretend that I know a little about food, and that I've tried a fair amount of things. I've had some 238932890 grain things that have had Quinoa (keenwah) in them but I've never just had a bowl-o-quinoa. So I made some up last night, and it is ridiculously delicious. Ridiculously.

And, of the organic grains, one of the cheapest. (It's even cheaper if you forget the organic mumbo-jumbo, but I like to buy it when I can.)

The big part of cooking quinoa is rinsing it. Rinse it for at least 2 full minutes under running tap water (i used a little metal coffee filter that I use for rinsing weird things like this) to get off the yucky bitter residue (called saponins). Then throw that bitch in a rice cooker (or sauce pan) with 1 part Quinoa and 2 parts water. It cooks almost exactly like rice but it's like nothing you've ever tasted before.

I tried it with both just butter and salt, and with soy sauce, and both were terrific. I liked trying it with just butter and salt to really get a feel for the grain, especially being my first time trying it.

It was a fabulous dish, go make it immediately. (and it's almost as cheap as rice, but mixes it up.)

(footnote: here is what wikipedia has to say on the subject of its nutrition:

Nutritional value
Quinoa, uncooked
Nutritional value per 100 g (3.5 oz)
Energy 370 kcal 1540 kJ
Carbohydrates 64 g
- Starch 52 g
- Dietary fibre 7 g
Fat 6 g
- polyunsaturated 3.3 g
Protein 14 g
Water 13
Thiamin (Vit. B1) 0.36 mg 28%
Riboflavin (Vit. B2) 0.32 mg 21%
Vitamin B6 0.5 mg 38%
Folate (Vit. B9) 184 μg 46%
Vitamin E 2.4 mg 16%
Iron 4.6 mg 37%
Magnesium 197 mg 53%
Phosphorus 457 mg 65%
Zinc 3.1 mg 31%
Percentages are relative to US
recommendations for adults.
Source: USDA Nutrient database
A few Quinoa grains close up.
A few Quinoa grains close up.

Quinoa was of great nutritional importance in pre-Columbian Andean civilizations, being secondary only to the potato, and followed in third place by maize. In contemporary times this crop has come to be highly appreciated for its nutritional value, as its protein content is very high (12%–18%), making it a healthy choice for vegetarians and vegans. Unlike wheat or rice (which are low in lysine), quinoa contains a balanced set of essential amino acids for humans, making it an unusually complete protein source.[5] It is a good source of dietary fiber and phosphorus and is high in magnesium and iron. Quinoa is gluten free and considered easy to digest. Because of all these characteristics, quinoa is being considered as a possible crop in NASA's Controlled Ecological Life Support System for long-duration manned spaceflights.[5])

Monday, October 6, 2008

On the menu tonight.... health food?

So, going by the cheap and delicious ideal that food must be both a) Cheap and b) Delicious, I opted for the sale items at the local grocery store. Since the 24 hour, typically more expensive store is closer to my house, and I'm lazy, I opted for it rather than the more cost effective version. (I'm only pickin' up a few things anyway.)

I walked in the store, and sweet potatoes (yams) were on sale. Dear god. I freakin' LOVE sweet potatoes. They're pretty well the best ever, and better for you than potatoes. And are delicious. And, since they are on sale, they're even cheaper than they normally are. Hells yes.

So I bought 'em. Then, I bought tofu. Don't even start and be a whiner. I still eat meat, but I'm also not so close minded as to not eat something that can be super delicious and good to cook with. And, it's a helluva lot cheaper than meat. And, (as you may have figured out...) I'm cheap.

Then I got ketchup, you know, just cuz I was outta ketchup. That's not really the interesting part of the story. The best part was the yams being on sale. I freakin' love yams.


Sweet Potato French Fries
Sweet Potatoes
Some sort of oil type thing. (optional) (Whatever is around, or available to steal from your roommates.)
Salt (I like to actually pay a little but more and get sea salt, but that's just because I like it and want to. I don't really care what kind you use. I don't fucking have to eat it. Road salt may be too bulky, though.)

Chop up as much sweet potato as you feel would be delicious. Chop 'em up like french fries. Big wedges if you like those, little skinny things if you like those. This part really, really isn't rocket science. Just keep in mind that little skinny guys are going to cook faster than big wedges.

Throw them in the oven on a cookie tray, and keep an eye on them until they've browned, 10-20 min depending on how big you've cut them. Flip 'em half way through. They might get some teeny little black spots on them, but that's okay, they'll be delicious anyway.

Now, you can either wait until they're cooked through entirely, and eat them straight out of the oven this way, or, you can be an unheathly creature like me, and pull them out and give them a quick fry in some of that oil I was talking about before. You're not deep frying them or anything, but it definitely gives them a bit more of a yeh-im-eating-french-fries taste to them.

Don't forget to salt them, and I like to dip them in ketchup, or a little dip mix I've thrown a copy of at the bottom of this recipe for you, or just salt like my roommate does. In any case, they're freakin' delicious.

Tonight, I just used leftover spaghetti squash, just 'cause I had it in the fridge, but I'll give you a quick run-through. Spaghetti squash is a more-delicious version of regular spaghetti. I'd pick the squash over the spag-het any day, and it's got good stuff in it for you. I like it too, because it's not that expensive, especially (again) again if you can catch it on sale. Plus, like tonight, it's great as a leftover.

Spaghetti squash.
1 spaghetti squash. (try and pick a smallish one, I find the big ones kind of yucky.)

Stab (carefully, idiots.) the squash with a fork or knife, and throw it in the microwave for 3 minutes. When it dings, pop it out (it's going to be hot, use mitts or something.) and flip it over. I usually stab it a few more times, mostly to see how it's cooking, it's most likely still going to be extremely firm, so put it back in for 2 or 3 minutes, depending on how easy it was to stab it this time. When it's done, chop it in half, throw out the pumpkin-gutsy stuff (yay childhood moment!) (again, careful, 'tard, it's hot.) Now scrapeout the rest of the guts with a fork. It's going to come out in terrific little spaghetti squash-like strands. This is the delicious-ness.

You can be boring like me and just throw a bit of sea salt and butter on this and go to town. But of course, spaghetti squash can be treated just like regular spaghetti. So, if you've got some delicious marinara, or vodka sauce, or the like ready to go in the fridge this is pretty well a terrific idea. Seriously though, heat the sauce before you chuck it on there. If you don't want to use butter for whatever reason (ie it's not that good for you, you're a vegetarian etc) the sauce is also a great option in that sense.

The last part of the meal I made up is

Pan-fried Tofu
Hunk of extra firm tofu
soy sauce
bread crumbs

I was just cooking for myself tonight, so I only used about a quarter of the 2 dollar package of tofu (making it a nice serving of protein for 50 cents, find that in non mystery meat meat.) Since tofu absorbs flavours really nicely, I soaked bite sized pieces (about 1/4 inch thick hunks) of tofu in soy sauce and garlic at the beginning of cooking everything else. If I had thought about it in advance, I would've marinated it even longer.

When you're ready to cook it, roll it in some bread crumbs, then throw it in hot oil over medium hot, til it's crispy and hot. I kept some of the marinade for dippin. It was pretty well the best tofu ever. Just try it, you pansy.

So that was tonights' pretty damn healthy, pretty damn delicious, and freakin' healthy meal.

(Tofu, 2$ a package, single serving about $.50
Half of a large sweet potato, about $.50
Spaghetti squash, about a third of a squash, about $1.)

$2 bucks a plate, not including seasonings, because the fractions would make it ridiculous, and really only a couple of cents per serving.

ps- sorry no photos today kids, the boys used up all my batteries with their video game controllers. Boys suck.