st. pattyas i mentioned before, i may only be 25% irish but it’s a proud 25%. however, my irish pride tends not to manifest itself in green clothing, green beer, or overdosing on guinness. don’t get me wrong — i love me some guinness, i just don’t think there’s a particular day it’s better to drink it than others. it’s actually similar to my feelings on valentine’s day, when i think about it. but today i actually manifested some of that classic st. patty’s day greenery, in a completely random way.

you see, ever since we got naked, ahem, i mean ever since our juice fast (sorry, couldn’t resist) H & i have really been rethinking our eating habits. neither of us had any trouble physically with the juice fast — we did have dreams about solid food, but that was all mental craving related. i don’t think i was hungry once that weekend. so that started us thinking.

and this past week, we’ve noticed other things about our eating habits. like, how if we eat more later in the day, we have more trouble getting to sleep at night and more trouble digesting in general. and how most of our snacky cravings come between the hours of noon and 3pm. so our resolution was to try and change it up a bit.

for breakfast, if H doesn’t feel like making any, we have the Naked Protein juice — and wow. a small glass of that really does the trick. and ever since, well, today, we’ve resolved to try and eat a big meal in the early afternoon, and only small stuff later in the day.

st. patrick’s day lunch so, to help us get in the habit, i made us lunch today — something i almost never do. sure, i cook weekends, but i tend to make everything so that we can eat it later on, not immediately. upon raiding the fridge for my lunch ingredients, i decided to get creative — even though that tends to backfire more often than not. today, i was feeling optimistic. maybe it was the beer (something i firmly believe in for all weekend afternoons, ethnic holiday or otherwise)…

but, st. patrick was with me! not only were fully half of my ingredients green, but it came out splendidly. i am so proud of this dish, in fact, that i am going to turn it into an official recipe. i just can’t decide what to call it — maybe you all can help me out with that?

so here it is!

st. patrick’s day mealSuzy’s St. Patrick’s Day Lunch
note: the tricky thing about the amounts down there are that i used mostly left-over hunks and bits of stuff. so these are all approximate. if something seems like too much or too little, you’re probably right!
1/3 head broccol-flower (or however you spell that), cut into little florets & bits
1/4 c edamame
peanut oil
1/3 c half and half
1/2 c grated or chopped cheese (i used mostly manchego with a bit of gouda, because it’s what i had, but i think the important part is to use one soft and one hard cheese so that they blend well)
red pepper flakes
1 1/2 c potato wedges

– heat potato wedges in a skillet or pot with a top over medium heat,  coated with just a little bit of oil so that they don’t stick
– sautee edamame until just starting to brown
– add broccol-flower florets and continue sauteeing until florets are heated through
– add edamame & florets to potatoes, cover & reduce heat to low, and continue heating until sauce is done
– sauce: add the half and half to the sautee pan you just used, then add the cheese. stir continuously over medium-low heat until all the cheese is melted
– season with red pepper flakes to taste
– add sauce to potato-veggie mixture. the sauce should be just enough to coat the mixture without much excess
– serve with garlic bread & beer! yummm.

i was having trouble with recipes this weekend. nothing was inspiring me — probably all the stress from the last few weeks kicking in. so i turned to my new cookbook, since we’ve had WAY too many leftovers from the past few cooking bouts and i haven’t tried most of them yet.

solo suppers

so, from left to right we have salmon & sauteed mushroom quiche which i invented (recipe after the jump), oven-roasted potatoes with red pepper flakes based on nigella’s garlic potatoes, and the fritatta recipe from solo suppers (which i promise to post when i get a minute)! plus, as you can see above, some store-bought breads and rolls to flesh things out a bit. oh, and i also made a boboli pizza with herbed gouda, fresh mozzerella, and pepperoni for snacking and lunch. and so far, we’re good to go! i have two more quick recipes waiting in the wings though, just in case a night comes when we don’t feel like any of this. but i feel pretty good about it — we’re not big eaters, i’ve come to realize, we’re big snackers. so a few dishes for dinner go a long way, as long as there are diversions when it comes to lunch and snacks!

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i will probably regret that post title, but i couldn’t resist.

i woke up this morning feeling generally crappy. in fact, i’ve woken up the past few mornings feeling generally crappy.

not really a surprise, when you consider the past few weeks. H is in the same boat.

the good news is, i woke up determined to do something about it. in college, i invented my own version of fasting that involved lots of really good high-quality juices, fruit, and yogurt. i’m sure actually that i didn’t invent it, but i’ve never found a name for it. so i call it my juice fast. i relied on it a lot in college to get my body all cleaned out. sometimes it would be for half a day, sometimes for a couple days, but it always left me feeling better.

so, this morning i suggested it to H. he was game, so off to the store we went! luckily our local grocery store has a nice selection of Naked juices, so i could dispense with the fruit and yogurt buying and just focus on the juice.

we got a nice selection:

and i also got a quart of chocolate soy milk, to help me through sweet cravings (the bane of my existence). definitely not the cheapest choice for this weekend (ouch, says the budget) but i think worth it in the long-run. anything would be worth getting rid of the post-nasal drip, constant low-grade headache, and general body tiredness that i’ve had.

we’re going to try to take it all the way through tomorrow, have a totally detox-friendly weekend. we’ll see if we make it. but we’ve been up since 8:30, it’s now 2:35, and i’m not hungry yet. i’ll take that as a good sign!

after succumbing for half of yesterday to an mtv marathon of america’s next top model cycle 6, to my eternal shame, i managed to summon up my motivation to cook (he’s flying in monday afternoon) and get back on track.

i started small — the first thing i made is a recipe for lemon cheesecake bars i’ve been hanging on to for a while, ever since i first saw it posted. cheesecake is the one sweet thing that H likes, and since my first one was so successful i’ve been yearning to try another one. i just now took them out of the fridge to check on them — for check on them, read eat some (to those who say cheesecake is not breakfast, i say, get thee behind me!) — and they turned out mmmm mmm good. this recipe is basically suzy-proof; the only trouble i had comes from using a food processor, since it has trouble getting the bottom layer of cream cheese to blend with everything else. but i persevered, and did a lot of pulse-and-scrape, and it worked out just fine!

then i did some potato wedges, since those seem to be very handy to have around (the last batch i made got thrown in with every other meal every other day) — this time i used olive oil (2 tbs), 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes (my newest spice acquisition!), salt and pepper, and am very pleased with the results. they have a nice kick to them, but aren’t spicy enough to overwhelm that yummy roast potato flavor. mmmm, potatoes.

today it’s spring rolls, easy green pasta, and cream of asparagus soup. i’ll let you know how it goes.

hear hear! i don’t know who jonathan beecher field is, but i have to agree with this article:

In the age of the Internet, the value of “Joy” — or books like it — lies not with what they include, but in what they exclude. For the cook who wants to make a familiar dish, or who is faced with a new ingredient, the current problem is not a lack of recipes, but a surfeit of them…

All of this suggests that ink-and-paper cookbooks will survive the recipe database and the food blog explosion. This is good news, but should not be surprising. A good cookbook is more than a collection of recipes. The ones I cherish — Judy Rodgers’ “Zuni Cafe Cookbook” and Fergus Henderson’s “The Whole Beast” come to mind — offer a comprehensive approach to thinking about food from a distinct perspective. Even in the realm of general cookbooks, there are personalities…

A particular copy of a particular cookbook provides a lasting physical link between a cook, or generations of cooks, and the meals they feed their families and friends. Many of my favorite cookbooks open naturally to my favorite recipes, because those are the pages that are splashed and stained from duty on the counter, propped open with a pot lid. Better still, a conscientious cook will produce the kind of annotations you won’t find online. When I’m home for the holidays, I like to thumb through the blue “New York Times Cookbook” that remains the cornerstone of my mother’s kitchen. Her annotations are as interesting as the recipes themselves, not just for what they say about the recipes, but also for what they say about her…

The success of the new “Joy” suggests that entering (your ingredient or dish here) + recipe into a search engine is for the brave man or woman with lots of free time. The materiality of cooking and the immateriality of the Internet make for an uneasy pair . . . If you heed the advice of some stranger to marinate flank steak in Sunny Delight, you are, quite literally, on your own. With “Joy,” you have the safe feeling of being under the watchful eye of a septuagenarian.

as part of this “food blog explosion”, i completely agree. i stopped using allrecipes.com because of this very issue. grouprecipes will probably end up that way as well, but i live in hope at the moment. and my newest cookbook already flips open to a couple of recipes (and has a few stains as well).

long live the cookbook! and all books, for that matter. i love books and hope they never ever go away.