Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Vegetarian Chili

Let me tell you a cautionary tale about the importance of close reading.  I found a delicious-looking recipe for vegetarian chili in March 2011's issue of Triathlete Magazine (aspirational reading, okay?) and stuck it up on my refrigerator.  When I went to the grocery store, I was overly confident that I remembered the correct ingredient proportions, and this confidence spread over into the actual cooking process.  Long story short, I wound up with 12 servings of vegetarian chili instead of six (suspicions arose when I had to break out the stockpot because the normal-sized pot was too small, but at that point the commitment had been made).

So this is a recipe for a massive amount of veggie chili.  You could make less, but I'm not capable of doing that.  It's good though—leave out the bulgur for your gluten-free friends, put the bulgur in for an extra-nice texture.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Refrigerator Pickles

Like most Americans, I consider Labor Day to mark the end of summer, even if it's somewhat wishful thinking here in balmy North Carolina.  In any case, the holiday weekend provided the perfect excuse for one last barbecue, and you'd better believe I took advantage of it.

Hot dogs and hamburgers are enticing enough, but I wanted to make something a little extra interesting to attract attendees.  "I'm making my own pickles!" I crowed, not actually knowing anything about pickling.  An hour of reading later, I'd realized a few things: 1) There was no way I would be canning anything, so refrigerator pickles were the way to go; 2) Bread-and-butter-style pickles are a little more interesting to make, as you can play with the flavor profile in a way you can't with the more rigid dill-pickle style; and 3) Pickling is EASY.  Here's how you can do it too:

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Penne with Cannellini Beans, Kale, and Turkey Bacon

When I started library school last week, one of the pieces of career advice that kept coming up from second-year master's students and profs was to start a blog.  "Terrific!" I thought.  "I'm already all over that."  But then I realized that they meant a blog about library school.  Oh well.  As a wise man once said, "I've gotta be me."

So here's my first post from library school land.  Per graduate school requirements, all I'm craving is pasta all the time.  But I thought I'd switch it up from my usual red-sauced staple.  I had a can of cannellini beans in the pantry, so I started there.  With the addition of kale and turkey bacon, this dish makes for a slightly spicy and satisfying meal.  Plus, you can always leave out the turkey bacon for a vegan meal.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Red Potato and Sugar Snap Pea Salad

Why is summer the best time of the year?  Extreme heat, popsicles, outdoor movies, long hours of sunlight, and PICNICS.  Yes, I admit it: I'm a picnic partisan and I think everything tastes better al fresco.  And what's a picnic without potato salad?  This recipe includes a little greenery for a healthsome crunch and an olive oil dressing.  Bonus: Using olive oil instead of mayo as the binding/moisturizing agent prevents the potato salad from going bad in the summer heat.  Nobody likes food poisoning.


Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Blueberry Muffins

While apple pie is pretty much as all-American as you can get, it's not really seasonal for the Fourth of July.  To me, a close second for sheer patriotic goodness is the blueberry muffin: Where else in the world is eating what is basically a cupcake for breakfast considered the norm?  God bless this country.

Seriously, I made four batches of these muffins over the weekend and my family ate them ALL.  Addictive yet so simple.  Sometimes, as my friend Kirsten says, you just can't improve on the simple standard: You could add lemon peel or orange essence, but it won't make these any better, just different. So here's the classic recipe:

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Onion Rings

For very special occasions when I was growing up (e.g. the Fourth of July), my mom would make what I still consider the most delicious onion rings in the whole world.  They showed up on our table no more than a half-dozen times, but they're the stuff of family legend.  For my dad's birthday dinner, he requested a repeat appearance of these mythical fried onions, so I did my best to recreate my mom's recipe.

Basically, this is a fritter dough rather than the traditional onion-ring coating.  It keeps the onions from drying out and has a little more heft.

In any case, I know that Dani Cooks has been heavy on the baking recently, so here's a recipe that uses a whole different skill set (deep frying) for an all-American classic.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Coconut Cake

June means it's birthday time in my family!  Last week was my dad's natal day, so I made him a dinner of his choosing as part of my gift.

For dessert, he picked an oh-so-delicious but slightly tricky coconut cake.  "Beware!" my friends said.  "The boiled icing will be your downfall."

But I'm here to tell you that if you watch your icing carefully and follow the directions semi-carefully, you'll be A-OK.  And you'll have a light cake that's not too overwhelming for summer (or anytime) celebrations.