butternut squash polenta & veggie sausage

Butternut Squash Polenta + Veggie Sausage

it’s Sunday morning,
10:00am,
i’m under a thick blanket
my friend Nuria knitted for me,
a parting gift made up of
old, random strands of yarn i had laying around.
the sun is full on bright out,
but the day lies,
because it’s below freezing.
i’m watching The Mind of a Chef,
season 4, episode 3,
trying to be motivated
and inspired to make something in the kitchen,
instead, all i can think about is
sipping a negroni.
first, i don’t even like gin,
the shit tastes like shit.
second, it’s taken about 4 watches of
Gabrielle Hamilton for me to even like her.
third, it’s now going on 10:30 in the A M.
BUT!
the way she describes
how the gin ebbs the edges of a hard day,
how the campari’s bitterness coaxes an appetite,
the combination leaves you warm, hungry,
and then the vermouth brings it all together.
damn, an aperitivo for breakfast, please!

and, should you find yourself,
later in the day, still awake,
breakfast for dinner it is…

Butternut Squash Polenta + Veggie Sausage

butternut squash polenta & veggie sausage
makes 4 servings

note: this dish came about because we had a butternut squash on our counter since autumn. for a hard veggie, it doesn’t really take that long to cook, especially when it’s chopped small. cooking two ingredients that take a fair amount of time to be done, together, seemed to make sense. and then to bring it all together, i topped with breakfast stuff. i’ve always viewed breakfast for dinner meals to be fun, somehow whimsical, but always satisfying and warming.

1 cup of polenta
a cup, give or take, of cubed butternut squash
1 bay leaf
4-5 cups of homemade veggie stock, or water

veggie breakfast sausage patties, chopped
1/2 onion sliced
olive oil
1 glove garlic minced

medium-hard boiled eggs, sliced in half
chopped chives, dried or fresh, optional, for garnish

in a large pot, heat up the veggie stock or water, along with the bay leave. bring it to a boil and slowly stir in the polenta and squash. reduce heat to medium and simmer. stir every so often, when you think of it, but think of it often. you’re aiming for a soft creamy mixture, anywhere from 20-30 minutes. you might have to add more liquid if it gets too thick. salt/pepper to taste. if you’re fancy, mix in a pat of butter.

between stirrings, in a skillet, heat up a splash of olive oil. add in the sliced onions and a sprinkle of salt. mix until well coated and then add in the minced garlic. you’re aiming for soft and tender and browned caramel-y onions. don’t burn the garlic.

push the onion/garlic mixture to side, and heat up the chopped veggie sausage.

to assemble, ladle in a scoop or two of the polenta. top with sauteed onions and chopped veggie sausage. finally, add on half an egg and garnish with chopped chives.

BAM!

Butternut Squash Polenta + Veggie Sausage

another polenta option: creamy polenta and roasted mushrooms
3 years ago: ultimate white cake
2 years ago: overnight steel cut oats
1 year ago: ny style cheesecake

orange & olive oil cake

Orange & Olive Oil Cake

it’s somehow well into february
2017 has been the slowest & quickest passing of time.

today,
6 years ago,
i met 2 incredible humans.
just over a month ago
we lost an incredible human.

everything else aside,
we have much to celebrate,
and so we will.

Orange & Olive Oil Cake

orange & olive oil cake
adapted from the splendid table

*note: the recipe calls for the use of a 9″ springfoam pan and a bake for up to 42 min. i grabbed our 8″ pan from the pantry & our oven runs hot so we took it out early and it was just right. a crust forms and it creates a perfect contrast with the soft interior. this is a great accompaniment to morning coffee, 3pm tea or after dinner nosh.

**note: cover well & will keep in fridge for a week.

1 1/2 cups spelt flour
scant 1 cup sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
2 large eggs
2/3 cup fresh squeezed orange juice (about 2 oranges)
zest of 2 oranges
2/3 cup light olive oil
1/4 cup chopped candied orange peel
powdered sugar, optional, for dusting

preheat oven to 375°F. line an 8″ cake pan with parchment paper. set aside.

in mixing bowl add alllllll the ingredients, except for the powdered sugar, and mix through. (that’s what i did) however, if you want to be correct: dry ingredients first, then add the wet stuff one at a time. mix with a spatula until all the dry streaks are gone.

pour into prepared pan. bake for 38 minutes.

cool for 20 minutes, then flip out of pan onto wire rack to cool completely.

sprinkle with powdered sugar if desired, slice and serve.

BAM!

Orange & Olive Oil Cake

3 years ago: 2 flavors of pull apart bread
2 years ago: savory sticky rice
1 year ago: red wine poached pears

gochujang sloppy joes

Gochujang Sloppy Joes

years from now,
i hope i can recall
how it felt when the the world descended into madness.
that sounds dramatic,
doesn’t it?
but that is how i currently feel.
i don’t want to forget:
how my feet hurt from standing in a crowd,
arms raised, holding a sign,
flushed against my beloved
as he held me from behind.
or, how helpless i felt when
i heard about the ban,
sitting under warm blankets on our couch,
watching the news on low volume
as to not disturb my beloved in his slumber.
or, how infuriating and humiliating it felt
to witness 7 men sign documents
dictating a woman’s choices about her body.
never in this lifetime will there
ever come a time when the situation would be reversed.
and as angry as i am,
i would never want to be in that kind of situation.

Gochujang Sloppy Joes

years ago,
when i still lived with my grandparents,
after we immigrated to this country,
(actually, we were refugees. there is a difference),
and they scrounged pennies to pay for my school lunches,
hot lunches that fueled me for the day at just 65¢.
sloppy joes were always a favorite,
that salty-sweet kick,
served with tator tots.
this combination always takes me back,
back to a time when the debate on immigration
was more civilized.

Gochujang Sloppy Joes

Gochujang Sloppy Joes
dw made this up, i don’t know where, it just showed up on the table for dinner.
i also told dw i was going to edit his recipe but it seemed like a lot of work, so this is in his words.
also, he’s dreamy.

In a bowl, combine the following and stir to a thick paste:
1 T honey
½ T brown sugar
2 T Apple cider vinegar
1 t Worcestershire sauce
1 heaping T Gochujang
1 T Dry Ground Mustard
1 t garlic powder
1 t smoked paprika
½ t kosher salt
½ t freshly ground black pepper

Caramelize a half or whole onion, sliced in bite-sized pieces, in a T of olive oil – Set aside
Brown 1 pound ground dark meat turkey
Add 1 diced red bell pepper and simmer until bell pepper is cooked to your liking
Add 16 ounces canned diced tomato with juices
Drain juices from turkey, tomato, and bell pepper to another saucepan and reduce until thick

Add caramelized onion, reduced juices, and seasoning paste to the simmering turkey mixture and simmer until hot, aromatic and delicious

Serve over toast, or on buns.

Gochujang Sloppy Joes

3 years ago: chocolate ginger molasses cookies
2 years ago: brinjal pickle hummus
1 year ago: crock pot baked beans

diy | flameless fire pit + fake rocks

Flameless Fire Pit

i know,
this is kinda ridiculous.
however, i’m willing to bet
there are plenty of people,
(as it were, my kind of peeps)
who would appreciate this
level of ridiculousness.
it’s been a mild season,
but winter nonetheless,
and i am giving
H Y G G E
the seriousness it deserves.

DIY Flameless Pire Pit

DIY Flameless Fire Pit
adapted from free people

materials:
tree branches, size up to you, but aim for the thicker ones
white or light grey fabric strips
aluminum foil
mod podge glue
paint brush
LED light string (i got mine from IKEA, leftover xmas lights are fine)
rocks, real or homemade. recipe below

wrap branches with aluminum foil, make sure it’s covered

brush glue on a fabric strip and wrap it around the foiled branch. overlap if necessary, but cover the entire branch.

do this for all the branches and set on WHITE/LIGHT colored paper and allow to dry (you risk the paper sticking to the glue/fabric, and having newspaper ink stuck will mar the effect.)

when completely dry, anywhere from overnight to a couple nights (i lost steam with the project after the first sitting… it took me almost a week to get back to it… don’t judge me), using an xacto knife or box cutter, carefully cut down the seam of the branch, end to end. it’s ok if you cut through the foil, the goal is to peel the whole thing off the branch. carefully take the cast off the branch, peel the aluminum out. reshape if necessary. do this for all the branches.

chuck branches and foil.

arrange stones/rocks in a circle, within reach of an outlet. pile the stringed lights in the middle. then like you’re building a fire, arranged the branches in a cone-shape over the lights.

turn lights on and squeal in ridiculous child-like abandon.

Flameless Fire Pit

DIY homemade ROCKS
adapted from handmade mamas
makes 8 palm-sized rocks

26 oz coffee grounds (still wet from the day’s brew)
1 cup corn flour (or cornmeal)
1/2 cup soy flour
1/2 cup salt
1 scant cup whatever flour (i used whole wheat, cus my precious spelt is pricey)
water

preheat oven to 250F. line cookie sheet with parchment paper. if you planned ahead, use an old/used one cus RECYCLE.

in a bowl mix dry ingredients together. the coffee grounds will be wet. as you’re mixing you can determine just how much water to add.

slowly add the water, 1/4 cup at a time. you’re aiming to bring the mixture to play-dough consistency. if you don’t know what that is, i feel sorry for you, aim for pasta-dough consistency. you want the stuff to stick together.

shape into rocks. they don’t have to be perfect, irregular shaped and dents and cracks are nice.

place on prepared cookie sheet.

bake for 20 minutes.

turn off oven, flip over the rocks and leave in oven while it cools.

BAM!

DIY Flameless Pire Pit

3 years ago: kale + tofu balls with pasta
2 years ago: frozen old fashioned waffles
1 year ago: feijoada – brazilian bean stew

spinach salad + baked falafel balls

Spinach Salad + Baked Falafel

i’d say in the last 6 months or so
i’ve had a strong feeling
of lethargy.
not physically per se,
but like i’m tired of the grind.
i’m perfectly content to have cereal for dinner,
and more often than not
i’ll turn to dw
and say we’re eating out
or it’s his turn, again, to make something.
i still go through the motions of
being an adult:
menu plan
grocery shop
meal prep.
if i’m really good,
i might even blog about it.
i would say though,
butt-end of 2016 was cereal all day, err’day,
and repeats,
like this spinach salad that is so stupid good,
and some form of bean ball,
whichever i happen to grab from the pantry.
it’s not a hardship when ingredients are good
to begin with,
but it certainly does make for
a quieter food space.

Spinach Salad + Baked Falafel

 

TL; DR:
i’m beat, i might drop off the face of the earth
cus all i eat is breakfast for dinner,
unless it’s this salad,
in which case, it’s dinner for breakfast.

Spinach Salad + Baked Falafel

spinach salad with dates & almonds
adapted from the cookbook jerusalem by ottolenghi
the NY Times has the full recipe

*note: we made this salad all autumn and it looks to be something we’ll be consuming all winter. i’ve used spinach, arugula, kale, or lettuce mix. my vinegar use is also spotty, sometimes it’s generic distilled white, other times it’s sherry vinegar and recently it’s been rice vinegar. i obviously have an issue with following recipes to the T. i also eyeball amounts of everything, because sometimes the fridge needs clearing or the meals needs to be stretched to the next day. it’s whatever tastes good, man.
**note: the butter can be omitted & double down on the olive oil, but if you’re able to consume it, or have access to lactose free butter, DO IT.
***note: the falafel balls are an added healthy protein option, though any meat or hard boiled egg would do. the salad is fine as a stand alone meal. i have taken to par-cooking or full on cooking the garbanzo beans before shaping. soaking is not enough and my stomach rebels if we skip the boiling part. besides, this method offers an almost creamy hummus-y like texture that’s quite pleasing.

3 TBL vinegar, take your pick, you can do whatever you want
1/4 large red onion, thinly sliced
4-6 dates, pitted and rough chopped
Salt
1 TBL unsalted butter, i use Green Valley Organics
2 TBL olive oil, divided
2-3 pitas, roughly torn or cut into 1 1/2 -inch pieces
1/2 cup raw, slivered almonds, coarsely chopped
2 tsp sumac
healthy pinch chili flakes
spinach or greens, aim for like 2 really big healthy handfuls
2 TBL freshly squeezed lemon juice, optional (real talk: i’ve never done this step, and up until i had to type this recipe out, i didn’t even know about it)

in bowl, add the vinegar, onion slices and dates. throw in a pinch of salt and mix. set aside while you prepare the rest of the dish.

in a frying pan, heat up the butter & 1 TBL olive oil. aim for medium heat. add the pita pieces and cook until golden. this step can take up to 10 minutes sometimes, depending on how big the pieces end up being and how crunchy you want them to be. add in the almonds and mix well. take/turn off heat and add in the sumac & chili flakes and a pinch of salt. mix thoroughly.

to assemble, in a large mixing bowl add in the greens with the pita mix with the onion/date dressing, excess vinegar included. drizzle with an additional tablespoon of olive oil and lemon juice if using, and toss well.

BAM!

baked falafel balls
makes 22 balls

soak 1 cup of dried garbanzo beans with a healthy pinch of baking soda overnight
1/4 cup of parsley, WITH STEMS
1/4 cup of cilantro, WITH STEMS
1/4 cup of minced onions
2 tsp cumin
salt/pepper to taste
1-2 tsp almond meal

cook garbanzo beans for about an 30-45 minutes, in the same soaking water. drain.

pre-heat oven at 350F and prep a baking sheet with parchment paper.

in a food processor, pulse the parsley, cilantro and onions. add in the cooked garbanzo beans, cumin and salt/pepper. pulse, you’re not making hummus, it’s a chunky texture that you’re aiming for, there might even be whole beans in there, you’re wanting the mixture to stick somewhat. add almond meal, 1 teaspoon at a time, until the mixture binds enough to make a ball.

using an ice cream scooper, scoop out a portion and rolling to a ball. put on baking sheet and continue.

bake for 20-30 minutes. if you think of it, turn the balls to brown all over. it’s not detrimental if you don’t.

remove from heat. can be eaten hot or at room temp. usually i drizzle bit of miso-tahini dressing, which doesn’t clash with the spinach salad dressing.

BAM!

Spinach Salad + Baked Falafel

1 year ago: chili + fennel seed pork pies
2 years ago: lentil tacos
3 years ago: diy toy kitchen