August 31, 2011 § 3 Comments
Ever since we gave up meat for 3 weeks last spring, I find I’m always on the hunt for hearty vegetarian dishes. I really like meat, I just don’t feel the need to eat it everyday. I don’t monitor too strictly what I eat, but I do like to maintain a constant effort to increase the number of vegetables in my diet. As it is, we do eat a lot of vegetables. Dinner always includes salad or a roasted vegetable on the side. But dinners that actually feature vegetables as the main dish, those are far less frequent.
The other night I had on hand a daunting amount of zucchini from my mom’s garden. Instead of transforming the zucchini into a side dish or pasta sauce, I searched for a recipe that featured the zucchini as the main. It didn’t take much time to find and settle on Simply Recipe’s Zucchini Fritters. With only a handful of ingredients, these couldn’t be simpler to make. Topped with a creamy yogurt sauce, these fritters made for a supremely comforting meal any meat lover would enjoy. We served them alongside a tomato and avocado salad. To beef up the meal even more, rice or couscous would be a natural addition.
Zucchini Fritters slightly adapted from Simply Recipes
2 medium sized zucchini, grated
3 T freshly chopped chives
1 egg, beaten
1/2 c flour
1 tsp salt
freshly ground black pepper
Yogurt Sauce (these measurements are somewhat rough, so be sure to taste for seasoning before serving)
1 1/2 cups Greek yogurt
1/2 cup grated cucumber, excess water squeezed out
1 small clove garlic, grated
2 tsp freshly squeeze lemon juice
s+p to taste
Make the yogurt sauce first: Stir together all ingredients and season to taste with salt and pepper. Let rest in fridge while preparing zucchini fritters. Taste again for seasonings just before serving.
Make the fritters: Sprinkle 1 tsp salt over the grated zucchini and let rest for 10 minutes. Ring out zucchini with paper towels in two batches to remove all excess water. Set a large sauce pan to medium heat, coat bottom of pan generously with olive oil. While pan is heating, mix egg, flour, chives, and pepper into zucchini. Mixture should be paste-like. Once pan is heated, drop spoonfuls (2-3 tablespoons) into the oil, flatten slightly with the back of a spoon, and cook for 4-5 minutes on each side until nicely browned. Place cooked fritters on a paper towel lined plate and sprinkle lightly with salt. Serve immediately.
August 29, 2011 § 2 Comments
For months before we went to Singapore, our friend Nimesh (who moved there) constantly raved about their signature dish- chili crab. All of our friends who went to visit him did the same thing, raved and raved about this crab dish! So on our first night, a chili crab feast was in order. We ordered one chili crab, as well as a white pepper crab and black pepper crab. The chili crab was delicious, but I also really enjoyed the black pepper crab. It was surprisingly smokey in flavor. Oh, and were these crabs meaty! A far cry from skimpy Maryland crabs. They had claws the size of lobsters.
One of the best parts of the whole dish were these little balls of lightly sweetened fried dough, which you use to dip in the sauce and, I suppose, help cut the spice. They were so uniformly shaped too, which made them that much more appetizing.
Along with the crab, we also got some clams. These were spicier! Suffice it to say I was a bit of a sweaty mess by the end of the meal. It doesn’t help that they don’t provide napkins at restaurants in Singapore. It became very clear on this trip that I use a lot of napkins. After our first day I took to carrying tissues in my purse at all times!
August 28, 2011 § 3 Comments
One of the most searched for and viewed recipes on this site are the Sea Salt Chocolate Chip Cookies. It makes sense to me, I can’t imagine how anyone wouldn’t find that savory and sweet combination completely irresistible. I had a hankering to bake yesterday and was admittedly very tempted to just make a batch of those chocolate chip cookies. But knowing that wouldn’t mean a new recipe here, I decided to branch out (just slightly) and make these oatmeal chocolate chip cookies.
I fell in love with oatmeal chocolate chip cookies at Potbelly. They make these huge ones, literally the size of your face, that are so moist and delicious it’s pretty much impossible to resist them at the checkout. Luckily they’re not too difficult to recreate at home. The key to achieving that chewy texture is using mostly brown sugar as the sweetener, and baking the cookies until they are just done, not overcooked in the slightest.
I sent my brother back to school with a full bag of cookies, and then decided to freeze the rest of the dough. I love having homemade cookie dough on hand to be able to slice and bake a few any night of the week. I’m even thinking I’ll save the dough until we move so during those first few days of unpacking, we can make the place feel like home with freshly baked cookies.
Chewy Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies slightly adapted from the Joy of Cooking
Makes roughly 3 dozen cookies
1/2 unsalted butter (softened)
1 3/4 c flour
3/4 tsp baking power
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt (heaping- this is important!)
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
2 1/2 c rolled oats
1 3/4 c light brown sugar
1/4 c sugar
2 1/2 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 c roughly chopped chocolate (or chocolate chips)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Sift together the flour, baking soda, baking power, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Set aside.
Cream together butter and sugar until the mixture is light and fluffy. Pour in the vanilla, beating to combine, and then add each egg, beating well after each addition.
Sift the flour mixture one more time. Then add the flour in two additions to the butter mixture. Make sure it’s well combined. Next pour in the oats, stirring with a wooden spoon or rubber spatula to combine. Lastly, add in the chocolate, stirring well to combine.
Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper and place two inch balls of dough three inches apart on the sheet. One regular cookie sheet should hold eight balls of dough. Bake for 10-12 minutes until the cookies are just firm around the edges and slightly soft in the middle. Let cool on the pan for a few minutes, then move to a cooling rack. Cookies can be stored in an air tight container for up to one week. Dough can be wrapped in plastic wrap and frozen for up to one month.
August 26, 2011 § 3 Comments
Apologies, it’s been a while! It’s made even worse by the fact that we returned from our trip a week ago and I’m just getting around to writing this post. Confession: I was taking a vacation from my vacation, something I (and probably few people) ever have the luxury of doing. This was immensely helpful in dealing with jet lag and catching up on season 3 of Breaking Bad. This was not so helpful in securing our new apartment.
Around Wednesday I started to feel a bit guilty about my lack of productivity, and began getting things back on track. I’m always amazed at how hard it is to adjust after a vacation. This one was the longest I’ve taken in years, so that likely had something to do with it. The whole trip was 19 days in total! Since I shared little about my trip before I left, I thought I’d begin with that. Here’s the breakdown: Tokyo to Singapore to Vietnam and back to Singapore. Four days in Tokyo, 8 days in Vietnam, and 5 days total in Singapore. It was quite a trip- far to much to cover in one post, so I’ll begin with a snap shot of just our time in Tokyo.
Thanks to jet lag, on our first day we made it to the Tsukiji Central Fish Market for the 5 am tour. Millions of dollars worth of fish is sold at the market each day. We got to watch as buyers examined, bid on, and purchased pounds of fish.
Following the tour, we poked around the rest of the market.
Later that day we visited the electronics district, a maze of tiny shops selling materials to actually build electronics. Not very useful to me personally, but very cool.
We had a killer dumpling lunch one day. Fried and filled with meat- pretty representative of our diet for the entire trip.
My chopstick skills dramatically improved across the course of the trip. I can actually eat a meal with chopsticks now- success.
This image is actually the wall inside the Tokyo subway. Underground transportation oversees always seems so much more aesthetically pleasing than what we have in the US.
One afternoon we stopped in a rotating sushi bar for a snack. Suffice it to say, Japanese sushi is quite different than the Americanized version.
A rainy visit to Sensoji, the Buddhist temple in Asakusa, a district of the city which has maintained the atmosphere of the old Tokyo.
This food is fake, yet considered an ART in Japan. We stopped in this shop in the restaurant supply district to check out all the fake dishes. They had everything from pizza to sushi to beer. It was hysterical! Apparently not a joke to everyone though, this stuff is not cheap.
Wandering the streets.
On our last night we took some pictures from the rooftop of our friend’s apartment. I can’t get over the sky in these images. Definitely on our list to print and frame.
Much more to come on the vacation front, but considering the hundreds of photos to sort through, this will involve many posts. I’ll break that up with some recipes and food related posts since I’m sorely overdue. Hopefully the hurricane will force us indoors but not leave us without power, so all time can be spent in the kitchen!