Food

Mango-Ginger Fried Rice with Sausage

(serves 2)

About a cup of leftover white or brown rice
1-2 tsp coconut (or other) oil
2-3 tsp each minced garlic and ginger
1 tsp minced chili pepper
1/2 small onion, diced
Dash of ground or crushed coriander seeds
1/2 cup of frozen peas
1/2 mango, chopped
1/3 cup crumbled vegetarian sausage (I used Field Roast Italian, but others would certainly work, as would pre-cooked real sausage)
Soy Sauce
Worcestershire Sauce
Fresh coriander to taste, chopped

Heat oil in wok. Add garlic, ginger, pepper, and coriander seed; saute until fragrant. Add onions and cook until translucent before adding peas. Continue to cook until peas are just tender. Add sausage, mango, and rice and combine, tossing with soy sauce and Worcestershire until rice is just slightly colored and everything is heated through. Remove from heat and mix in fresh coriander; serve.

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Mushroom Agnolotti with Goat Cheese-Tarragon Cream Sauce

I’ve been wanting to get some practice with French sauces, and yesterday, with a log of nice chèvre aux fines herbes in the fridge and a pot of freshly grown tarragon upstairs (courtesy of Jerico), I knew I had the makings for something good. I decided to pair a creamy goat cheese sauce with mushroom ravioli. My original thought was to make ravioli, but that wasn’t in the cards for that night. I ended up using Buitoni Wild Mushroom Agnolotti, and although I kind of doubt their portabello and cremini mushrooms are actually wild, they were delicious and worked really well with the goat cheese and tarragon.

I found inspiration for this recipe here, here, and here. It sounds fancy but is really pretty easy to make! You will need:

· 20 Agnolotti or Ravioli
· 1 Shallot or ½ onion, minced
· 3-4 cloves garlic, minced
· 1½ Tbsp unsalted butter
· 1½ Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
· 3 Tbsp flour
· 1½ cup whole milk
· 2-3 oz. chèvre (soft French goat cheese)
· 1-2 Tbsp fresh tarragon, roughly chopped
· 2 tsp Dijon mustard
· Salt and pepper

Prepare pasta according to package directions. While the water boils and the pasta cooks, make the sauce. It begins with a simple roux: melt the butter in a skillet with the olive oil, and saute the shallot and garlic for about five minutes. Add the flour and whisk until combined. Then, add the milk, continuing to whisk to prevent it from scalding. Cook for another five minutes, remove from the heat and add the goat cheese, mustard and tarragon.  Whisk until the cheese is totally incorporated and season to taste with salt and pepper. Plate the cooked and drained pasta, top with sauce, and garnish with a sprig of tarragon.


Quesadilla

Quesadilla with Monterrey-jack, sweet corn salsa, onion, and roasted cherry tomato, topped with cilantro and avocado.

This came together as a way to use up stuff that was getting old, and even though I thought there was nothing to eat, I ended up with a very good meal. I sauteed onions and cumin seeds until they began to caramelize, then added sliced cherry tomatoes. After the tomatoes had sizzled a while, I emptied the skillet onto a flour tortilla on which I had sprinkled shredded Monterrey jack and a bit of cheddar. Finally, I spread corn salsa over the other ingredients, folded it in half, and grilled the whole thing for about five minutes on the George Foreman.


Pistachio and Raisin Biscuits

Yesterday Jerico, Zoë and I made these absolutely delicious pastries, adapted from a Gordon Ramsay recipe:

  • Melted butter – enough to brush the pastry
  • Puff pastry 375g packet – one standard sheet makes approx 12 biscuits
  • Pistachios – handful bashed with rolling pin in cloth, unsalted
  • Handful golden raisins, lightly chopped
  • 1 tbsp ground cinnamon, plus extra
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • Icing sugar to dust
  • 3 tbsp clear honey

Pre-heat the oven to 200˚C (~400˚F). Mix the crushed pistachios and chopped raisins together. Dust a sheet of parchment paper with icing sugar and lay the sheet of puff pastry on top. Brush with melted butter and dust with a tablespoon of ground cinnamon. Scatter over the pistachio/raisin mix and evenly drizzle with the honey. Sprinkle over the sugar and give a final light dusting with the extra cinnamon and the ginger. Use the paper to help roll the pastry up tightly making sure to tuck in the sides as you go. Wrap the finished ‘roll’ in the parchment paper and rest in the fridge for 5 – 10 minutes if possible. Remove the puff pastry roll from the fridge and cut into 1-2cm slices, place on a lined baking tray and brush with a little butter, press them down gently to stop them losing their shape as they rise. Dust with icing sugar and bake for approx 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and dust with a final sprinkling of icing sugar.

Be sure to watch the video of Gordon preparing this recipe. I don’t know if he’s just in a hurry or what, but his grunted, one word directions are pretty funny. “Crush… your nuts. Bash. Mix. Puff Pastry. BUTTER!” We didn’t make the rosewater cream, but I imagine that would be really good. I’ll have to try it sometime soon.


Valentines’s Day

Our Valentine’s Day Breakfast: Spiced French Toast, Scrambled Eggs with Mozzarella, and Potato and Yam Home Fries with Rèmoulade Sauce

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Vegetable Panino

Panino (panini is the plural form) with spinach, caramelized onion, tomato, avocado, jack cheese, and creole mayonnaise. This is the first time I’ve made one, and it came out pretty well. I used some leftover focaccia that came with a salad from the pizzeria down the street, and used a George Foreman grill as a sandwich press.


Yaki Udon

Yaki Udon (Japanese stir-fried noodles) with vegetable and egg, topped with “chicken-less nuggets” (not as lame as they sound, I assure you) and sri racha sauce.


RZA Burger

I’ve discovered one of my favorite new foods. I recently started getting into the music of the Wu-Tang Clan and its members (many of whom are vegetarians), and when reading up on one of their albums I stumbled upon an interview in which the RZA describes one of his signature dishes..

“A RZA burger is a veggie patty with a fried egg, cheese, lettuce, pickles and all that, smashed between two delicious waffles. Spread mustard and mayo on it with a little butter and put that shit together. Trust me, son, that shit needs to be in stores.”

As soon as I read that I knew I had to make one. I sat on the idea for a while, but finally whipped up my own version: two buttermilk waffles, a portabello garden-burger, fried egg, american cheese, some caramelized onions, and to top it all off, a leftover chile relleño from Chevy’s. I poured a glass of cold water, turned up some Orchestra Baobab, snapped a few photos, and dug into one of the most intensely satisfying meals I can remember. Every flavor came through in perfect balance; sweetness from the waffles combined with umami from the mushroom and egg, slight saltiness from the cheese, and just the right amount of heat from the poblano pepper. Delicious.


Castagnaccio

It all started years ago when I began playing Dark Cloud 2, an RPG for the PS2. This game changed my life in many ways. No other game has brought together so many of my interests into one cohesive whole. Dark cloud has photography, town planning, sociology, trains, inventions, fishing, time travel, monsters, sages, and mythology all wrapped up in a cute cell-shaded package. It really ignited my early philosophical interest in the nature of time and the interconnectedness of people and events, as well as awakened a wanderlust that I have since been unable to satiate.

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Mustard Pizza

I ate this for breakfast today. Pizza with olive oil, spicy mustard, roma tomatoes, bell peppers, mushrooms and mozzarella. It was awesome, but next time I think I’ll try dijon, maybe with a different type of cheese, or a blend of cheeses. For lunch, I’m going to make french toast!