It hit 83 degrees in San Francisco today. Last week there was a heat advisory. True story.
Tahoe. We went to escape the cold and it was 60 degrees and windy for the only weekend this summer. Still beautiful though.
All I can say is this semi-heat wave is more than welcome given our overly chilly summer. If I have to read one more blog post about how “it was so hot, I just wanted a fresh salad” or “I couldn’t even think about turning on the oven” or “so I had some fresh watermelon” while huddling in my hoodie eating Asian comfort food … I’ll have to move to San Diego or something.
Last week during the heat advisory we were reminded why we don’t like it getting too hot around here – there’s no air conditioning. No where. Not in the mansions on top of Pacific Heights, not in the Full House house, and certainly not in my tiny apartment on Filbert St. Because you only need air conditioning about 4 days out of every year, and the night last week was one of them.
It was the kind of night you sleep with a cold washcloth on your head and the window wide open, but the air is too heavy and hot to be of any help. It was pretty fun as a novelty. I took advantage of the heavy heat, two overly ripe heirloom tomatoes from the farmer’s market, and leftover cooked couscous to make a delicious late summer salad. Well late for you all. My summer’s only just beginning.
Late Summer Heirloom Salad
Serves: 1 hungry, hot person for dinner
2 large heirloom tomatoes
1 cup cooked couscous
2 tablespoons large capers
2 heaping handfuls arugula lettuce
1 part apple cider vinegar (could sub red wine vinegar)
2 parts olive oil
1 half fresh lemon juice
Cracked S&P to taste
Mix tomatoes through arugula in a large, and I mean large, bowl. Mix vinegar and oil, and dress the salad. Squeeze half a lemon over, and sprinkle salt and pepper. Enjoy with a cold beer or ice tea.
When I see curry fries on the menu, I order them. I hope you do the same.
The best are from Marvin in DC – don’t be fooled by their website. That place is way more “lounge” than “restaurant,” but they sure pump out some crazy good curry fries. 15 Romolo in North Beach takes second place for my favorite curry fries, and was the inspiration for this recipe.
To avoid deep fried white potatoes, and the cocktails I would surely need to compliment them, I experimented with the typical sweet potato oven fries, Indian spices, and a glorious amount of olive oil. These would be great as a side snack with a spicy black bean burger at your summer bbq, or you can serve them on their own with fun, creamy dipping sauces.
Curry Sweet Potato Fries
1 large sweet potato
Extra Virgin Olive Oil (about 8 tbs.)
2 heaping teaspoons Curry Power
1/2 teaspoon Cumin
1/2 teaspoon Ground Ginger
Generous shake of Garlic Salt
Cracked Black Pepper
I’m always hesitant to provide amounts for spices in my recipes since it really IS all about taste preference, but suffice to say, you probably can NOT over season these. Don’t go light on the curry powder – you will regret it. I used black pepper for my spice, but I think a few pinches of garam masala would go a long way too.
Cut up your sweet potato into fry form. I saw a fantastic “la technique” episode with Bourdain the other day where his sou chef made homemade french fries and was impressed at how he cut them so precisely. I think I came pretty close to replicating this time.
Heat your oil in a shallow pan on medium high heat for 1 minute. Add all curry powder and heat until fragrant (another two minutes). Toss fries with heated curry oil and all remaining spices. Bake at 375 degrees until crispy (about 30 minutes).
These are iphone photos. My camera is MIA. Not a good excuse, but at least somewhat of a reason why all blogging has ceased. I think they came out pretty gorgeous anyway!
G’s brother-in-law makes the best chicken wings I have ever eaten. He’s from upstate NY where they know how to make chicken wings. These wings are so good, I’ve had numerous fantasies about opening a wing joint down the street from his house in Baltimore so I can share them with the world (and make billions of $). Apparently, someone else thought that was a good idea too. Let’s see how far they make it without these wings.
I have been waiting since I started this blog to post this. But it didn’t seem right. Not yet. Now, with the SuperBowl just around the corner, it’s finally time to share the magic.
Here’s the key – the wings are grilled, not fried. I know people have done that before (KFC comes to mind) but I can guarantee that if you follow this exact formula your wings will turn out crispier, juicier, and 100% tastier than any you have ever had.
Rendauld’s Amazing BBQ Wings
2 long packs of fresh, full wings
Spray bottle filled with water
Favorite Barbeque Sauces (we use all kinds of Dinosaur BBQ)
Clean all wings in the sink and dry off with paper towels. Arrange wings on baking sheets and set oven to 350 degrees. Sprinkle seasoning salt generously on all wings. Bake for 30-45 minutes. Every 10 minutes or so, spray with water from the water bottle. This helps the wings to crisp.
Once they are starting to look almost done, pull out the wings and very lightly resalt. Put your various bbq sauces into different tupperware. Put your wings in the tupperware, close the lid, and shake to cover the wings with the sauce. This is how you can make a whole variety of different wings so get creative.
Put the wings on the grill on medium to high heat for 10 to 15 minutes until crisp and juicy. Feast!
But wait! Chicken noodle soup isn’t vegan!! What kind of trick is she playing?
Fear not, dear reader. This recipe comes to us from the real #1 woman in G’s life, his mother. And I did have the pleasure of enjoying it, but during December when this whole vegan experiment was just a twinkle in my eye.
Wow. That looks delicious. G’s father has a new camera and the pictures just came out so clear. I assure you, it tastes as good as it looks. Why does chicken noodle soup taste so much better when a mom makes it?
Boneless chicken thighs, cooked and cut into chunks
1 bunch of carrots, cut into rounds
1 bunch of celery sticks, cut into small slices
3 onions, diced
Sliced cremini mushrooms (optional)
Chicken broth (1 large, 1 small Swanson broth)
1 package wide egg noodles
Salt and Pepper to taste
In big soup-making pot: combine cooked chicken, vegetables and broth. Cook on medium heat approximately 10 minutes veggies get a little tender. Bring to boil and add the egg noodles. Cook approximately 8 minutes, or until the noodles are done. Don’t overcook or the veggies and noodles will be mushy. Nobody likes mushy soup.
This soup recipe is vague because you can add lots of veggies or not so many; lots of noodles or not so many. You can add other veggies if you like, but we always like it kind of plain and very chicken-y.
The Red Cross has already raised 5 million dollars from regular people texting “HAITI” to “90999.” The $10 donation will automatically show up on your next cell phone bill and the cell carrier keeps nothing – everything goes directly to the Red Cross to help Haiti now. I wish they could add the donation to my Comcast bill because I like the idea of keeping $10 from Comcast even better but that’s neither here nor there. Please give if you can.
The operative word here being “cold” since I think it actually hit 65 degrees in San Francisco the day we made this soup. But both G and I are feeling the sniffles after partying like rockstars on New Years traveling across the country for the holidays, so we made like our friends on the East Coast and cooked something appropriate for the “wintery” weather.
Note, this is the first time lentils have appeared on this blog.
G brought this up and we’re both super incredulous I made it this far without sharing some lentils with all of you. I’m actually kind of embarrassed about it, but the truth is, most of the lentils I cook come from other people’s recipes (as you’ll see on the lentil links page). Of course, if you own Eat, Drink, & Be Vegan, you know this recipe is no exception.
ED&BV is one of my newest cookbook additions and I’ve already made a couple delicious recipes from it, but this soup is my favorite so far (for obvious reasons). It necessitated me going out and buying curry powder – something I’ve successfully avoided in the approximately four years I’ve been cooking, which is the second embarrassing declaration of this post. Do you know how many good recipes call for curry powder??? And it’s not like it’s some expensive thing either. I can’t explain it, don’t ask.
Back to Dreena Burton’s Mellow Sniffle Soup. It’s flavorful, soothing, and delightfully chunky so you can scoop it up with bread and make a full dinner out of it. Best of all, it took me 30 minutes start to finish including prep and only uses one pot. Take that Rachel Ray.
Sorry for the lack of actual recipes as I lean on other people’s expertise during this vegan eating experiment. At least you’re getting a sense of all the tasty options for vegans. Try this one, omnivores, you’ll like it.
Confession, I have not made this soup.
My mom’s friend made this for a party and everyone was so impressed, she asked for the recipe. I was impressed at how easy this soup is and thought it would make a great blog post.
So why don’t I just make it myself before posting?
Second confession, I do not like peanut butter. I know there are a lot of obsessed bloggers out there, but I haven’t tried other nut butters either, because I don’t think I’ll like them. I guess I’m lucky in that respect, since they’re expensive and heavy in calories, and I have enough obsessions like that.
Easy Peasy Butternut Squash Soup
I bag of Butternut squash already cut up and ready to go (Trader Joe’s, Safeway or Whole Foods should all have this in their refrigerated produce section)
1 onion, chopped up
Pinch of Cayenne Pepper
Cracked Salt & Pepper
Chicken broth (about 1 quart)
1 tbs Peanut Butter
Put the squash cubes, chopped onion, spices and chicken broth into a large soup pot and bring to a boil. Boil until squash and onion are soft (approximately 20 minutes). Just before you remove the mixture, stir in the peanut butter.
Put all in a food processor or blender and blend until just smooth (not too much). Or use a nifty hand blender.
Final confession, these are all stock photos. But you probably guessed that.
Since we haven’t had a chance to actually grocery shop yet, I pulled together lunch with the few things left in our fridge:
Half a tomato
Small handful leftover mixed greens with carrots
Raw small zucchini (chopped)
A few pieces fresh basil
All combined together with red wine vinegar, EVOO, dried oregano, and some cracked sea salt. It was DELISH and the first time I’ve used raw zucchini in a salad but it will definitely not be the last. Rachel Ray Tip: To cut basil, stack the leaves on top of each other, roll them up, then cut on a diagonal. This gives you attractive little ribbons for your salad, pasta, etc. The highlight of the meal, though, was this:
A bday gift from my friend, L. Yes, the same L. from Pantless Paella, though not the same L. from my blogroll. I finally unearthed it from all the boxes, cleaned it out and filled it with the rest of my olive oil. I never knew I needed one of these but now I’m trying to figure out how I lasted so long without one, which is usually the way these things go. It is so much easier to pour the perfect amount of olive oil onto your salad. And plus it’s just so much more attractive.
Of course, even though we don’t have any food, we still have a lot of this:
and this ….
But that’s ok right, as long as I’m continuing to munch on this: