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Category Archives: Misc Foodings

Pumpkin Butter

Is pumpkin still “in”? Yes? No? Anyone?

According to Trader Joe’s it’s looooong gone baby and won’t be back until next year. Lucky for me, I have a Gristedes across the street and was able to snag a huge can. Phew. Yes, pumpkin might be more of a fall flavor than a winter one (HOW IS IT DECEMBER ALREADY?!) but I still love it, and will use any excuse (it’s cold out?) to make pumpkin treats.

I don’t know what inspired my sudden need to make pumpkin butter, but I’ve been seeing a lot of bloggers posting about different variations – apple and pumpkin namely – so I decided to take a stab. The good news is, it’s really easy. The better new is that it’s DELICIOUS. It’s a pumpkin dessert in a jar. I plan slathering this stuff on muffins, bread, pancakes and (most importantly) adding it into my oatmeal. This morning I added a tablespoon into my bowl of steel-cut oats and it was a hit. What’s not to love about pumpkin anything?!

What You Need (adapted from Smitten Kitchen):

  • 1 can pumpkin puree (29 oz — large can!)
  • 3/4 cup apple juice
  • 1.5 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 3/4 C sugar (I cut back on the sugar from her original recipe as I didn’t want it super sweet.)
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • Juice of half a lemon

What To Do:

  • Combine everything but the lemon in a large saucepan and stir well.
  • Bring everything to a boil, cover (leave lid ajar), lower heat, and let simmer for 45 minutes, stirring frequently.
  • After 45 minutes, taste, and adjust spices to taste.
  • Remove from heat, add lemon, stir and let cool.
  • Pour into mason jar/old jam jar and keep refrigerated between uses.

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Young Coconuts

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Young thai coconuts, how do I love thee? I could write a novel. Instead, I’ll keep it to a short blog post, cool? Cool.

I first got hooked on fresh coconut water at Bonobos, the raw, vegetarian food joint in New York. I had never tasted anything so completely delicious in my entire LIFE. Now, coconut water is everywhere — Zico, VitaCoco….but, honestly? I’m not a fan. It tastes like salty cardboard (not that I’ve ever tasted cardboard butttt….) and nothing at all like real coconut water!

Anyway. Nothing does it for me like the real water, poured straight from a young coconut. I can usually depend on Organic Avenue, Liquiteria, Pure Food and Wine, Juice Generation or Bonobos for fresh, (albeit really, really expensive) coconut water and again, it tastes nothing like the stuff from the shelf. Promise.

Because I don’t love spending $9 on a 16oz bottle of the stuff, I’ve been getting my fix recently by buying the coconuts (you can find them at Whole Foods and some health food stores), slicing them at home, and enjoying a tall glass all for about 4 bucks (tip: keep the coconut in the fridge before slicing….that way it’ll be nice and cold when you’re ready to drink.)

Here we are cutting one open this morning. Note, you’ll definitely need a huge chef’s knife and someone strong to give it a few good whacks. I definitely would have sliced my hand off had I done this on my own (thanks, Bri!) After we drank the water from it, we scooped out the meat with a spoon and snacked on that. The BEST start to a Sunday morning.


Delicata Squash with Fresh Herbs

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I love squash. One of my favorite (see: only) things about Winter is the abundance of different kinds of squash — acorn, butternut, spaghetti and….delicata?! I got two of these in my CSA share from last week and had NO idea what to do with them. I had never even SEEN them before. They looked like something you would decorate a Thanksgiving table with. Eat? I wasn’t too sure.

I decided to slice it, (skin on), coat in olive oil, salt and pepper and add on chopped sage and rosemary (picked fresh from my window garden!) I roasted it for about 45 minutes and the results were amazing. Buttery, sweet, filled with flavor, this is absolutely going to be my new squash of choice. If you haven’t already tried it, I encourage you go to get some and roast it up immediately.

What You Need

Two small delicata squash

two tablespoons chopped fresh herbs – I used rosemary and sage

1 tbsp olive oil

salt and pepper to taste

What You Do:

Pre-heat oven to 375. Slice the squash in half lengthwise and using a spoon, scoop out the seeds from the center of each half. Once everything is scooped out, slice each half width-wise into 1 inch pieces. Drizzle olive oil on the squash, making sure each piece is covered and spread the pieces out on a baking sheet (first spray with cooking spray to prevent sticking!) Sprinkle chopped herbs, salt, and pepper on the squash, pop in the oven, and let roast for about 45 minutes. You’ll know the squash is done when you can easily poke with a knife. I would also recommend removing the baking sheet halfway through the baking time, giving it a good shake to loosen up any pieces that might have gotten stuck to the baking sheet, and then placing it back in the oven to finish roasting.

That’s all there is too it! Delicata squash. Do it. Now.

Italy in Photos

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Food photos, I mean. (You didn’t actually think we went sightseeing or anything, did you?)

Brian and I went to Italy in April. We were there for a week and, well, we ate a LOT. A lot of cheese, wine, bread, pizza, and coffee. In fact, I didn’t consume a SINGLE green the entire week, which is pretty rare for me. Not even a side dish! Anyway, my body paid me back, because by the end I was sick, and I NEVER get sick (knock on….coffee table.) Brian made a funny analogy, and compared my body (the insides, people) to a Ferrari. Runs smooth about 99% of the time, but if a tiny thing goes wrong, the whole thing shuts down. Oops. I was definitely shut down by the end of the trip, and in fact, as SOON as I got home did a 2 day cleanse to restore my body back to what it was pre Italy. Phew. Definitely did the trick. Anyway, enough complaining! The food was incredible. These are all pretty self explanatory, so enjoy!

Kitchen Cleanout: Veggies and Beans

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We’re going out of town this weekend – Charleston, SC to be exact. I’m pretty excited. I went last year for the fourth of July and it was, to directly quote some of us as we lounged in the lake, beers in hand: “THE BEST FOURTH OF JULY OF OUR LIVES!” (truth.) So, naturally, I’m ready to relive it.

In honor of leaving for three days, I decided to skip grocery shopping this week (!) and make do with whatever I have in my fridge. There’s a bunch of stuff in there as well as in the pantry that’s been sitting around for too long, so this is the week it’s all going to be eaten.

Tonight was pretty simple: tofu, frozen bell peppers + onion mix, canned latin style black beans, microwaveable brown rice. Fancy? Hells no. Really good anyway? Mmmhm.

I won’t bore you with the details of exactly how we cooked the frozen vegetables (on the stove) or how we “prepared” the beans (in the microwave), but I will say it was a successful meal. We set out a bunch of different sides, mixed them all together, added in a bunch of chopped up cilantro, smothered everything in hot sauce, and voila –  a lazy Monday night dinner.

How To: Tofu

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Recently, a few of my friends have posed the question to me: “What do I do with tofu…?” While the answer to this might be obvious to those of us that have been vegetarian for a while, to others it’s a mystery, and rightfully so! I mean, it comes in a box, it’s mushy, water leaks from it, it doesn’t smell or taste like anything, and I’m supposed to be eating this stuff!? Uhhh…right.  So I wanted to dedicate a post to this exact question in the hopes that tofu making/eating will be easier to some of you!

There are really only four steps to enjoying tofu:

1. Drain

2. Flavor

3. Cook

4. Eat

1. Drain:

The most important step in cooking with tofu is draining it. All this means is removing most of the water from the brick of tofu. There are a few ways you can do this. There’s the fancy shmancy way using the Tofu X Press (I don’t own one, and can’t personally attest to how it works), or the good ‘ole “press it with something heavy and use a ton of paper towels” way, which is what I normally do.

Once you’ve removed the tofu from it’s packaging, place it on a plate, cover it with a paper towel, place another plate on the paper towel, and top it all off with something heavy: a book, a huge jar of pickles, a brick if you happen to have one lying around…you get the point. Let the “tower of tofu” sit for about 15 minutes or longer — you’ll see the water oozing out of the tofu. Good!

At this point, most of the water should be removed. But when cutting the tofu up into either slabs or cubes (more on that later) I usually use a few paper towels to soak up some of the extra water from the tofu.

2. Flavor:

Next, it’s time to cut the tofu up. There are a few ways you can do this: either cut it into slabs (one tofu brick usually cuts into 5 or 6 slabs) cubes, or triangles. I usually go with cubes if I’m going to be cooking them on a stove top or slabs if I’m going to use a grill. Regardless, once you have the tofu cut, it’s time to dress it up!

My go-to tofu marinade is soy sauce, pepper, diced garlic, sesame seeds and red chili pepper flakes. I combine the ingredients in a tupperware container, add the tofu cubes, and let them sit for at least an hour (the best thing to do is let it sit overnight, but who thinks that far ahead anyway?!)

3. Cook:

Once you have the tofu flavored, it’s time to cook it. I usually spray a skillet with olive oil spray, put it over medium heat and stir fry the tofu cubes. Once they’re brown on all sides, you’re done!

Another option, if you’ve cut/marinated the tofu in “slab” form, is grilling it. I whip out my tiny George Foreman grill that’s perfect for this exact purpose. Easy peezy.

4. Eat:

At this point you have your perfect little tofu cubes/slabs and you’re wondering what to do with them. Pair them with a few veggie sides, brown rice, noodles, put the cubes in a salad…there’s nothing you can’t add them to.

If all of this sounded a little overwhelming just remember the four easy steps: Drain, Flavor, Cook, Eat. You don’t have to follow the steps exactly as they are above –you can add/improvise the marinade, bake the tofu instead of grilling, etc.

And now I’ll leave you with some inspiration for the next time you get the tofu itch:

The Basics:

Grilled Teriyaki Tofu

Easy Baked Tofu

Grilled Tofu and Soba Noodles

A Little Fancier:

Basil Grilled Tofu

My Tofu Scramble

Note: All photos (Tofu Scramble excluded) are not mine. Tofu Marinade photo is from (never)homemaker,

Dinner of Champions: Babycakes

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So okay, tonight was laziness at its finest. I had a work event tonight on the LES that went longer than I had expected. When I finally left, it was late, and although I had consumed a fair share of the passed snacks (veggie spring rolls for me!), I hadn’t eaten dinner. Even weirder than me missing a meal (that NEVER happens), is that I wasn’t even all that hungry! Strange indeed.  I walked out of the event to hail a cab (thanks, work!) and suddenly a light bulb went off in my head. What’s right around the corner?! Babycakes. Huh-freaking-zah.

On any normal day, I probably wouldn’t stop by the bakery….it’s far from where I live and quite out of the way from my normal every day activities, but I figured tonight since I was close, I might as well stop in. I grabbed two cupcakes: a vanilla spelt and a vanilla gluten free (for no other reason than to see what the difference was between the two, side by side). On the cab ride home, I wolfed one of them down and called it evens: there, that was dinner.

Note: I NEVER DO THIS! I’m uber good about having several balanced meals throughout the day, fruits and veggies galore, but it was so close, I was so tired, and I was so not hungry for leftovers…it would have been downright disrespectful to the Vegan gods above for me to pass this up. I came home, finished the crumbs with a glass of vanilla soymilk, and now I’m pooped.

Bed time!