Saturday, February 7, 2009

Hearty Lunch

Today I made the second of the two recipes that Blaze sent me. Blaze got this recipe from Snickerdoodle, so I have to thank them both for sending it my way. It is veggie, healthy, and flavorful! And really quite easy. Enjoy!

Black Bean Stew over Coconut Lime Rice

for the black bean stew:
2 tbs olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped fine
large handful of yellow baby carrots
1 clove garlic, chopped
2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp cayenne pepper
salt and pepper to taste (I used a little truffle salt cuz why not?)
2 cups vegetable stock
2 cans black beans (30 oz total)
half a pound of frozen corn
large can of stewed tomatoes
I also added a bit of cinnamon, definitely optional

sweat the onion, carrots and garlic in the olive oil over medium heat in a stock pot until onion is soft. add seasonings and cook for a few minutes more. enjoy lovely aroma of onions and cumin. add stock, corn and one can of rinsed black beans. bring to a simmer. in a mixing bowl with a stick blender (or in a food processor) puree the tomatoes and second can of rinsed black beans. add tomato mixture to pot and simmer on low about 20 minutes.

for the coconut lime rice:
1 1/2 c basmati rice (I used brown jasmine rice)
14 oz can of lite coconut milk
1 1/4 c water
1 tbs sugar
juice of one lime (I added the zest too)
2 tsp salt
1/8 c chopped cilantro

incorporate all ingredients except cilantro in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. reduce heat and simmer until all liquid has been absorbed, about 25 minutes (mine took forever, I am terrible at cooking rice). fluff rice with a fork and mix in cilantro.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Green Post

I have to admit this post is recycled from Facebook. If you are on Facebook I'm sure you have seen the notes with 25 random things about yourself. Well here is my submission, I'm sorry I don't have time for a more thoughtful post.

1. I have had surgery on my tongue

2. I love non-dairy creamer and prefer it over regular cream in coffee

3. But I love cream in my tea

4. I love to peel things, especially people peeling after a sun burn. I know it is gross, but it brings me a creepy sense of joy

5. At points in my life I have memorized the Gettysburg Address, the Periodic Table of Elements, all the state capitals, and numerous other things. I have a terrible memory and have since forgotten the majority of each

6. I love maps and could study them all day if given the opportunity. Side note - Does anyone know how I can turn this into a career?

7. I worked in the Kroger produce department for one day in college. The smell of the trash room made me ill and I never went back. I was hoping to become a cashier and to this day would love to work as a cashier in a grocery store.

8. I would also like to try being a waitress at a fancy restaurant where I love the food and the menu changes with the seasons (like Crop). And I would love to go to culinary school if chef’s work hours weren’t so terrible. (this was a two-fer)

9. I have some interesting relatives including a child prodigy, a nun, and an ultra-marathon runner.

10. I have run (very slowly) two half marathons and a full marathon. I would like to try doing a triathlon someday (no day soon)

11. I am a sucker from new products and infomercials. If you recommend something I will try it.

12. I got a tetanus shot last year and it turned out to be one of the worst experiences of my life. I still haven’t figured out what went wrong, but I couldn’t lift my arm for a few weeks and the pain kept me awake at night.

13. Popcorn is probably my favorite food. I also love bread with oil dip and I love Nutella, but try to not to eat these too much.

14. One summer I spent six weeks canoeing 1,100 miles through Canada. I think this proves I am capable of being outdoorsy, however I have not actually gone camping since.

15. I went on a missions trip for a week every summer in high school and became an accomplished roofer

16. I took piano lessons for 10 years and learning to play the violin/fiddle is on my list of things to do in life. I would also like to learn to play the accordion.

17. I have a very itchy face and don’t realize when I make funny faces to get rid of the itch, but I think I do it a lot

18. I think my skin would completely crack and fall off and I would be left skinless if I didn’t apply lotion to my entire body every time I get out of the shower.

19. I went on the Sound of Music tour in Austria, the hills are alive!

20. I was born in Vicenza, Italy and lived there until I was 2

21. I am a pisces as are a lot of my friends and I don’t think this is a coincidence. When I told my Dad that I thought there was meaning in astrology he told me he was “very disappointed”

22. I got caught shoplifting from Kohl’s in high school and was justly punished. I have not stolen anything since and I’m not sure why I did it in the first place. Its feels good to get this out in the open and stop hiding my shame

23. I really enjoy doing jigsaw puzzles, the Jumble, crosswords, Sudoku, and logic puzzles. Also murder mysteries, scavenger hunts, Road Ralleys, and solving mysteries in general. Actually I pretty much enjoy all games

24. I don’t enjoy really hot water. In turn I don’t enjoy hot tubs or whirlpools. But I would like to call the number on one of those signs on the side of road selling hot tubs just to see who is selling hot tubs via hand written signs. I mean they must make money or you wouldn’t see them EVERYWHERE, right? It must be a pyramid scheme. No - a Ponzi scheme

25. I still sleep with my blankie

Monday, February 2, 2009

The Perfect Storm

I spent last week in Lexington, KY for work, maybe you heard there was a State of Emergency declared? (fantastic). The storm of the century that made its way through the country last week hit us with enough ice that G-Bone and I were left literally chiseling our way into the car. The parking lots looked like ice rinks and while making a very slow turn, our little Ford Focus rental slipped into a curb. No exterior damage, but from then on the steering wheel had to be turned all the way to the left for us to go straight, whoops! Pete got stranded in Cinci for two days after the Lexington airport was closed without power and eventually drove in after the storm had passed. Team Flapjack finally reunited on Wed evening and enjoyed another delicious dinner at Murray’s on Thursday night before heading back to the Cleve.

View from our window. There are icicles on the power lines, awesome.

Absence certainly makes the heart grow fonder and this is especially true of my kitchen. Nothing makes me long to cook more than traveling for work and eating every meal out. Blaze sent me two recipes to try, the first of which I tried on Sunday. The individual components of this meal are ok. But with their powers combined this recipe is AWESOME! (and healthy) CC and I cleaned our plates and I enjoyed the leftovers for lunch yesterday, mmmm. Perfect to beat the winter blues – its light, vibrantly colored, and full of intense flavors. I highly recommend it, thanks again B!

Mahogany Broiled Chicken with Smoky Lime Sweet Potatoes and Cilantro Chimichurri

1 cup chopped cilantro leaves
6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
3 large cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon salt, divided
1/4 teaspoon pepper, divided
5 tablespoons dark brown sugar
3 tablespoons Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons bottled hoisin sauce
2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup plus
1 1/2 teaspoons lime juice, divided
1 1/2 pounds boneless skinless chicken breast halves, cut in 1-inch cubes
2 large sweet potatoes, peeled and cut in
1/2-inch pieces
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 teaspoon chopped canned chipotle pepper
1 teaspoon adobo sauce (from canned chipotle)
3/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon lime zest
Cilantro sprigs, for garnish

In a small bowl, mix together chopped cilantro, olive oil, minced garlic, 1/4 teaspoon of the salt and 1/8 teaspoon of the pepper; set aside. In medium bowl, mix together brown sugar, mustard, hoisin sauce and vinegar. Reserve 2/3 of this mixture. To remainder, add 1/2 cup lime juice and stir in chicken; cover and refrigerate.
Place sweet potatoes in a heavy saucepan and cover with boiling water. Cook, covered, over medium-high heat until tender, about 15 minutes. Reserve 1/4 cup cooking liquid, then drain potatoes in colander. Return potatoes to reserved cooking water and add butter, chipotle pepper, adobo sauce, remaining 1 1/2 teaspoons lime juice, cumin, lime zest, remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt and remaining 1/8 teaspoon pepper. Mash potatoes. Preheat the broiler. Thread chicken on 8 bamboo skewers that have been soaked in water for 30 minutes. Broil about 6 inches from heat, basting with reserved mahogany sauce until done, about 8 minutes. To serve, divide potatoes among 4 plates; top each with 2 skewers of chicken and drizzle with cilantro chimichurri sauce. Garnish with cilantro sprigs.

My only change to the recipe was that I did not have any bamboo skewers. I just put the chicken on a baking sheet and flipped/basted halfway through.