Thursday, September 17, 2009

mental break

Ah, the agony of the manuscript process. I know that I am a lucky girl to even be at this stage, but it's still a slog of a process.
I have been cooking a bit (and plan to make a huge mess of rice and mung beans tonight to get me through a long weekend of compulsive writing, only to be broken up with an acupuncture visit- yeah, I'm one of those Brooklynites, it seems). Here is my impromptu Monday dinner, Mondays being one of those evenings when my commute brings me to my grimy door at 9PM, starving with a voice cracking from 4 hours of shouting about political science to very bored NYC kids (bless them).

"Quick and Cheap" Untenured Professor's Green Fettuccine Faux-Carbonara
(30 minutes prep?)
would serve 2, but I ate it all, again

1/2 pack of Rice noodles (I used fettuccine, you can use whole wheat too)
2 cloves of garlic, minced
2 zucchinis, slices and cut in half (thin half moons)
5 baby bella mushrooms, chopped
2 handfuls of roughly chopped arugula
2 Tbs of chopped fresh parlsey
1 egg
2 anchovy fillets, chopped into little bits (will make the cat sniff you afterwards)
salt, pepper to taste
juice of one lemon
Hungarian Paprika (optional)
2 Tbs of pesto sauce (I made some with my farmer's market bounty weeks ago, but I guess the store bought kind is OK, no soybean oil)
Olive oil (1 1/2 Tbs?)

1. Boil the pasta according to directions
2. In a bigger pan, over medium heat, cook the garlic, about 2 minutes. Add the zuccini and cook (this will take about 10 minutes- you can chop other things during this time). Add the mushrooms after 5 minutes (they take less time).
3. Beat the egg in a small bowl. Add the pesto and parsley. Maybe add some water. Beat together.
4. Drain the done pasta. Add the anchovy bits to the finished zucchini, then add the pasta and arugula. Mix with one of those pasta sporks (if this is hard, add a little olive oil). Be sure that it's not on the heat anymore, but everything should still be hot.
5. The fun part- quickly add the egg/pesto sauce in the hot mixed up pasta/zucchini mixture. It should pretty quickly "cook" and make everything kinda sticky.
6. Add salt, pepper and lemon juice to taste. You could garnish with cheese but I didn't have any. I threw on some Hungarian Paprika at the end, to give it more color.

The cat, my legs, and very full belly

Sunday, September 13, 2009

(Temporarily) Lonely-hearted Ginger soba noodle and bok choy salad

I've mentioned my delicious CSA on the blog before, but mostly in praise. One thing that blokely doesn't like so much is the preponderance of bok choy. I like bok choy, but it's hard to incorporate into western style* dishes. Mostly we did bok choy with pan-fried tofu and brown rice, which got boring. He left last Saturday, which is very sad, but this means I can eat sea vegetables, sesame oil, and garlic like its going out of fashion and not offend anyone.
Garlic from the CSA. Some lady said, "I didn't know garlic looked like this!"

This is really good dish, and best of all, it's gluten and dairy free, for the allergic types. It's got sea vegetables, which are good for women.
Also, see the pictures of a very simple iceberg lettuce salad I made. Not because iceberg lettuce salad is so interesting, but because our farmer gave us the greenest, most vibrant iceberg lettuce I've ever seen. It still tasted like nothing though, so I threw in some argula for good measure

"I belong to a Bok Choy Share" Ginger Soba Noodle Salad
serves 2 hungry fools, or a dinner and a lunch for the lonely-hearted
(about 20 minutes, if you love to chop)

2 cloves garlic, chopped
1" ginger root, peeled and grated/chopped finely
olive oil (2 Tbs?)
2 Tbs sesame oil
1 Tbs or to taste soy sauce
2 heads of baby bok choy (or 1 big bok choy)
3-5 shitake mushroom heads, sliced
8 slivered and dry roasted almonds (say 2 Tbs of the prepackaged stuff, or substitute toasted sesame seeds. I bet cashews would also be delicious)
1 carrot, cut into matchsticks (or grated); or use a bag of rinsed mung bean sprouts (also common supermarket item)- just need it for the crunch
2 pieces of nori seaweed, cut into strips (optional)
2 green onions, chopped all the way up to the top
2 servings of soba noodles (buckwheat noodles, found in Asian section- if you can't find them, use whole wheat noodels instead)
cayenne (pinch)- also optional

1. Boil water and make your soba according to the directions. I throw the seaweed here for good measure.
2. Cut up your bok choy. The trick to crisp bok choy is cooking the ends first. You have to wash those suckers out, then separate leafy bits from the stems. Slice about 1/4" (or a little more) strips (they should be shorter, not along the length).
3. Heat oil in a pan over medium heat, add garlic and ginger, after 1 minute, add the mushroom bits. In a couple more minutes at the chopped bok choy stems, stir. After 2 minutes, add the leaves as well. Cook an additional few minutes until they are wilted and yummy. Turn off the heat.
4. When noodles are done, drain. Add them to the pan with the bok choy. Add sliced green onions, carrot matchsticks, and season with sesame oil and soy sauce. I am bad for my blood pressure so I probaby should have used less soy sauce.
5. Since its so good for you, try not to eat it all once.

*If Indian, Mexican and Middle Eastern dishes are "western". I suppose they are in comparison to East Asia.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Late night, early semester comfort foods

Augh, I got sick the first week of the semester! But never fear, Professah of Love will be bounding back in no time. Even though I've been teaching for a while and I know that the first week is not challenging in terms of preparation (once the syllabus is off to the presses), I still feel a pit of nervous, excited anxiety that knots me up inside the week prior to the beginning. Now its over (I only teach 2 days a week) and I have some time off because of Labor Day (thank you, early American trade unionists) to recover.
After returning home from midtown, I slept from 6 until late, and woke up around 9, heavy headed and weak. I finally pulled myself together around 2, rooted around our CSA offerings and pantry, and whipped up the following: (sorry no pics)

"Sickey from the beginning of a New Semester" Faux-Italian Quinoa Salad
(feeds 2 people for dinner, and maybe some left overs for lunch)
  • 1 c. of quinoa (rinsed)
  • 2 summer squashes/zuccinis, finely sliced
  • 1 c. baby bella mushrooms
  • fresh greens (parlsey, spinach, or arugula)
  • 1 c of cherry tomatoes (or 1 tomato, diced); alternatively- one chopped and seeded red bell pepper
  • olive oil/butter
  • 2 Tbs pesto (or 1 Tbs of tomato paste)
  • salt to taste
  • juice of one lemon (optional)
  • 1/2 c. mozzerella or pecorino cheese (optional)
Prepare quinoa according to directions (usually, boil in double the volume of water, turn to simmer until the water is absorbed). In the meantime, sautee the squash (in a large-ish frying pan) in olive oil over medium heat. Salt to taste. Set aside and sautee mushrooms in butter until soft and brown. Salt to taste. Chop up greens and tomatoes. When the quinoa is done cooking, add it to the frying pan with the cooked mushrooms and squash. Add the 2 of pesto, and mix it all up. Finally, add the tomatos and arugula. Salt and add cheese to taste.