Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas everyone! This year, Mr. Barefoot gave me an Eye-fi card, which hopefully means that the new year will be filled with delicious food photos from the Barefoot kitchen!
Today for lunch we're having cranberry brie en croute.
I've posted the recipe before, but now, with pictures! You need crescent roll dough, a round of brie, and a bag of Craisins. (for 13oz of brie or less, use one pkg of crescent roll dough, for 16oz round, use 2pkgs).

Steps:
1.) Cut brie in half. Fill with cranberries. 2.) Roll out crescent roll dough. I do this in two halves, and put one half on top and the other half on the bottom. I try to roll the bottom half out thinner so it cooks more evenly.
3.) Wrap brie in dough and put on a baking sheet. Stick in oven at 375 for 20-30 minutes (until crescent roll is cooked through - you'll want to flip it over and check that the bottom is thoroughly cooked.)
Enjoy! Things will be pretty quiet on the Barefoot homefront because we are off to Bonaire with my family. Have good, safe holidays and a happy New Year! See you in 2010! If you have a resolution related to cooking, please share in the comments!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Charm City Christmas

So I had a cookie swap earlier last week, and for it I made meringues. I'm gonna post them Pioneer Woman style, with way too many pictures. The recipe is here.
You start by crushing the peppermints in a food processor. This is way better than using a hammer, which is what I used to do.

Then you put the eggs in the bowl with cream of tartar and salt, and you start mixing.
Eventually the eggs will get really fluffy and white as you add the sugar and then you will beat them until your hand hurts, and then you will add the chocolate chips.
Then you just scoop them out and put them on parchment paper.
When you make these, it is important to use only metal utensils. Plastic retains oil and any trace of fat will prevent the eggs from whipping up and getting stiff. Also make sure you use parchment paper or a sil-pat instead of greasing the pan.
Happy baking!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Snow Day Fondue

So what do you do when you didn't believe the snow reports and you didn't stock up on extra food so all you have is some produce and a giant block of gouda that Papa Barefoot handed you when you went home earlier this week?
Oh wait, and it looks like this outside:


You make Snow Day Fondue! Sister Barefoot, who lives up the street, came down and brought her husband and a big block of swiss cheese, old and slightly moldy. I've gotten less squemish about moldy cheese and just chopped off the moldy bits. Then we cut it all up and made fondue.
Oh wait, for fondue, you need bread. French bread. Well, fortunately, on a snow day, you can't go anywhere, so it's the perfect time to make bread! I used the french bread recipe from the Joy of Cooking (I will repost shortly) and let it rise all afternoon. It made 3 loaves of delicious, crusty french bread.
As you can see, Sister Barefoot also brought some apples, and Mr. Barefoot did some last minute online Christmas shopping as we got dinner ready.

Snow Day Fondue:
1 cup dry white cooking wine
1 tbsp butter
1 tbsp flour
Approx 20 oz cheese, cut up into cubes or shredded, depending on level of laziness. We used Gouda, Swiss, and Parmesean, plus a tiny bit of cheddar. I would say the swiss is the most important, and then add whatever you want.

Recipe:
1.) Bring wine to a boil in a small pot.
2.) At the same time, melt butter over LOW heat. Add flour, and blend together until smooth and slightly cooked. You'll want to use a whisk for this.
3.) Whisk in dry white wine, a little at a time, keeping the mixture extremely smooth. This should take you about 2-4 minutes to accomplish. Whisk muchly.
4.) Add some cheese. Let it melt. Wisk. Add more cheese.
5.) Transfer to a fondue pot, or put on very low heat and have everybody stand around the stove.
6.) Dip delicious foodstuffs in melty cheese. Mmmmm. Fel warm and fuzzy.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Plantain & Black Bean Fritters

I tried these at a tasting for the wedding and decided I had to learn to make them myself. I tried this recipe from Sara Moulton and modified it a little.
Ingredients:
  • 3 black plantains
  • 1 cup bread crumbs
  • 1 can of black beans, drained
  • 1/4 cup diced onion
  • minced garlic
1.) Start by mincing the garlic and sauteing it a bit, then add the black beans and cover with water.

2.) Add the plantains to a pot, cover with water, and bring to a boil.
3.) Eventually the plantains will start to split. Pull them out and mash them up. I would probably do this with a food processor next time. Add bread crumbs until dough is manageable. I used flour because I ran out of breadcrumbs, but I don't recommend it because it didn't cook entirely.
3.) Drain the black beans and onions. Put into a food processor and pulse into a paste.
4.) Mash into a kind of circle.
5.) Spoon black bean filling and shape into a fritter. Make more.
6.) Put oil in pan, fry fritters until delicious.
7.) Eat! Yummy!
(I think next time we might deep fry them. mmmmm.)

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Rosemary-Balsamic Onions

I tried this recipe from Not Your Mother's Slow Cooker - Entertaining for a dinner party with a few friends a little while ago.
Ingredients:
  • 4 medium yellow onions (sweet ones are fine)
  • 4 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 1/2 tbsp evoo
  • 3 sprigs fresh rosemary or 1/2 tsp dried
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Procedure:
  1. Wash the onions, paying special attention to the root ends. Peel them, then trim the pointed, but not root, end.
  2. Place onions in slow cooker with the cut end up. Drizzle in vinegar and olive oil. Tuck fresh rosemary in among the onions, or sprinkle on dried rosemary. Sprinkle very lightly with salt and pepper. Cover and cook on High until tender and easily pierced - about 2 - 2 1/2 hours.
  3. Using a slotted spoon, carefully transfer onions to plates or serving platter. Pour the liquid from the crock over the onions.

Verdict: These were pretty good, but a little weird. It's a whole onion, so it's just kinda odd, and bulky to eat, but the onion itself was pretty good. I probably won't make this again though.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Caramelized Onion and Feta Cheese Sandwiches

I was in the mood for a gourmet but light lunch today (I have a hockey game at 1:30) so I whipped up this delicious sandwich. I used half an onion to make half a sandwich (Mr. Barefoot stole the other half). If your spouse does not hijack your meals, half an onion is sufficient for a full sized sandwich for one person. If your spouse does, use a whole onion.
Ingredients:
  • 1/2 medium onion
  • 2 tbs butter (actually, right now, we're using vegan margarine)
  • salt
  • pepper
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • feta cheese, to taste (would also be good with goat cheese)
  • fresh rosemary (if your awesome older sister bought you a rosemary tree)
  • 1 small pita
Recipe:
  1. Melt 1 tbsp butter in skillet over medium heat. Slice onion thinly into strips.
  2. Toss onion in melted butter and allow to saute until soft.
  3. Add sugar, salt, pepper, and remaining butter. (May need more butter if the onions start to burn).
  4. Continue stirring frequently for approx. 6-10 minutes, then add rosemary and saute a little more.
  5. Add feta, stir until softened.
  6. Spoon into pita and marvel at how such a simple sandwich could be so delicious.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Militant Vegetarian Warning!

Okay, so usually I believe my vegetarianism is personal and none of your business. But when it comes to lab grown meat, let me make a few points:
1) Lab grown meat sounds gross and I don't want to eat it, ever.
2) Did you read Oryx and Crake? If you haven't, you should. It's good.
3) We don't need artificial meat to reduce the environmental impact of the meat industry. We need to eat less meat.

Look, you probably wouldn't be reading this blog if you weren't vegetarian friend or a vegetarian ally. And I know I usually keep the crazy on the DL. And as a pro-choice person, I know that your life and my life are different and you probably love steak. But I'm gonna put this out there - you don't need steak. You certainly don't need steak every day. You could eat steak once a week and live to a ripe old age. Even if you do need meat every day, you don't need it every meal. Most people eat vegetarian for breakfast, and they turn out fine.

When it comes to health and wellbeing, meat doesn't matter. Eating a balanced, wholesome diet matters and I for one believe that scientific resources should be spent curing diseases and the problems of the world, and that if everybody around the world just ate meatless for a few meals a week, that too would substantially reduce the environmental impact of meat.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Pods of Joy!

Radishes are my new thing. They are interesting and new and don't taste much like anything else. I have been using this recipe from my new favorite cooking blog. Today I made them a little crispier than last week, and I like them better when I let them saute longer and get a little caramelized. I also tried them with parsley instead of tarragon the first time, and I think I preferred that.
Go forth and enjoy!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Meatless Monday: Pumpkin Stuffing

I made Pumpkin Mac & Cheese for thanksgiving dinner on Friday at my parent's house, so for Thursday at my grandmother's, I used some of the extra diced pumpkin I had to do a roasted pumpkin cornbread stuffing.
I've taken this recipe from the Food Network, and combined it with slow cooker stuffing techniques from the Authority on Slow Cooking. I started by roasting the pumpkin and mushrooms in the oven on about 325 degrees.
Ingredients:
1 bag cornbread stuffing
1 onion, diced
1 cup celery, diced
1 box of sliced roasted mushrooms
1 cup sliced roasted pumpkin (cut up into 1/2 inch pieces or smaller)
1 can veggie broth
1 can water (just fill the veggie broth can with water once you're done with it, don't call me from the store telling me you can't find a can of water.
sage, thyme (fresh if possible), salt, pepper to taste
ground up pumpkin seeds
1 egg (optional)

Procedure:
1) Dump everything dry into slow cooker, mix well.
2) Add liquid, mix more.
3) Cook on high for 2-4 hours, or low for 4-6 hours, depending on how broken your slow cooker is. (Ours cooks too fast, so it takes 2 on high or 4 on low.)

Enjoy! Hope you had a good Thanksgiving.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Beer Mac & Cheese

This is, I believe, the 6th macaroni and cheese recipe I have posted here.
Some foods are good foods. Some foods are fantastic. And some foods are proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy, to paraphrase Ben Franklin. Since Franklin said that about beer, then the same must hold true for beer macaroni and cheese.
I hate beer but I love to cook with it - so awhile ago, I thought about making beer macaroni and cheese, but I hadn't gotten around to it. I'm making mac & cheese for thanksgiving, so I thought for my friend's thanksgiving last night, I would do a different variation, and decided to try this out.
I looked around for recipes but a lot involved bacon. I found this one from Scrumptini and altered it a little.
Ingredients:
  • 1 lb penne pasta
  • 3 tbsp butter
  • 3 tbsp flour
  • 2 leeks, chopped up (just the white and light green parts)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 12 oz bottle of beer (I used yuengling but Mr. Barefoot recommends a stout)
  • 3 cups cheddar cheese
  • 1 cup parmesean
  • 1/2 cup parm (for topping)
  • breadcrumbs
  • salt & pepper
  • Tabasco sauce
Procedure:
  1. Saute leeks and garlic over medium-low heat in just a little bit of butter until soft and delicious smelling. Add 3 tbsp butter and stir until melted.
  2. Add in 3 tbsp flour slowly, allow to cook for 1-2 minutes.
  3. Pour in milk, allow to cook until thickened and bubbly.
  4. Add beer. Beer will bubble at first, and then calm down. Cook until entire mixture is thick, about 10 minutes.
  5. Meanwhile, cook pasta in a separate pot. Drain and put in a greased pyrex dish.
  6. Once beer - milk mixture is thickened, add cheese slowly. Once cheese is all melted in, add salt and pepper and a little bit of tabasco sauce (to taste - you can try it and see what you like).
  7. Pour sauce over pasta, stir to combine.
  8. Mix breadcrumbs, parmesean cheese, and some salt and pepper together, sprinkle on top.
  9. Bake at 350 for 20-30 minutes until top is brown and cheese bubbles.
Yum!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Chocolate Walnut Crumb Bars

The holidays are coming up and if you want a delicious treat to take to a party and impress everyone with, these are delicious and easy. This recipe is from my future mother-in-law and was a big hit at a recent party.

*Chocolate Walnut Crumb Bars *

1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
2 cups all-purpose flour
½ cup granulated sugar
1/4tsp salt
2 cups (12 oz) semi-sweet chocolate morsels, divided
14 0z can sweetened condensed milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup chopped walnuts

Beat butter in large bowl until creamy. Beat in flour, sugar and salt until crumbly. With floured fingers, press 2 cups crumb mixture onto bottom of greased 13 x 9 baking pan. Reserve remaining mixture. Bake in preheated 350 oven for 13 – 15 minutes or until edges are golden brown.

Warm 1 ½ cups morsels and sweetened condensed milk in small saucepan over low heat, stirring until smooth. Stir in vanilla. Spread over hot crust. Stir walnuts and remaining morsels into reserved crumb mixture; sprinkle over chocolate filling. Bake in 350 oven for 25-30 mins or until center is set. Cool before cutting.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Meatless Monday: Red Wine Marinated Mushrooms

We have a few bottles of red wine hanging around the apartment, and it turns out that when you cook mushrooms in red wine, they come out delicious.
Ingredients:
  • Mushrooms - we didn't use enough, because Mr. Barefoot always forgets how much they cook down. I would use about 20 next time, or really, the entire box.
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 2 cloves minced garlic
  • 1 1/2 cups red wine (or just pour until they are covered. You can also add some water.)
Procedure:
  1. Slice and prep mushrooms.
  2. Melt butter in skillet over medium heat.
  3. Saute mushrooms in butter until soft and cooked. Add garlic and cook for until garlic is slightly cooked.
  4. Pour in red wine. Allow to come to a boil, then simmer.
  5. Simmer until wine becomes a thick sauce (5-10 minutes).
We had ours over salmon, but they would be fantastic with just about anything, or just served over cous cous or rice. Or risotto. Man that would be amazing.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

On the Horizon

It's that time of year - no, not my usual pre-thanksgiving franticity, but pre-finals time. Time to focus on school and not making interesting new meals. So I end up making lists of foods I want to try, and putting them on the back burner for winterbreak. No surprise that a lot of them are types of mac & cheese.
So what's on the list?
Apple Mac & Cheese (omg it's gonna taste like the melting pot. And I'll probably try this sooner because apples are still in season.)
Leek Mac & Cheese
Pesto lasagna
Carmelized onion & feta sandwiches
also a Winter Lager Soup in a cookbook given to me by Z3P.
I also want to work on perfecting my pizza crust recipe. The one I'm using is pretty good, but it doesn't produce quite enough dough.
I would also like to start making myself breakfast burritos. I had one recently that was extremely delicious. They might be a good finals attempt, since they are quick and easy, and a good way to get nutrients, and will hold me over while I sit in the library for 5 hours.
What kind of cooking goals do you have?

Monday, November 9, 2009

More Pumpkinspiration

I posted awhile ago about pumkin lasanga. A few weeks ago, Mr. Barefoot's friend came over and we attempted pumpkin lasagna. Verdict? It was pretty good. Definitely a B+ meal.
We used this recipe, and it was good. (Plus, no bake lasagna noodles may be the greatest invention ever.) It was a little mild for my taste, and I like my lasagna to have the ricotta and sauce mixed together. I'm not sure what I was expecting, but maybe something a little more like my sweet potato mac & cheese. Like I said yesterday, I currently have 3 pumpkins, plus another 2 cups of pumpkin puree in my freezer, so there's a lot of room for experiment. I want to try a pumpkin mac & cheese, and also these.
We also had a pumpkin soup at the wedding over the weekend, and that was amazing.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Menu Planning

This weekend, we did something we haven't done in a long time. We bought groceries, we came home, and we did most of the prep-work for a week's worth of meals. Together. Which was really fun.
I'm not sure, honestly, how well everything is going to keep. But for right now, we have four meals in tupperware containers. Plus, we are trying two new recipes this week! Hopefully, I can remember to write about them on time, and to offer pictures.
What's on the menu?
Salmon with CousCous
Seitan Chili (which Mr. Barefoot is going to make, and has named "devilishly hot seitan chili")
New Potato Curry
Sweet Potato Tacos

Additionally, my cousin got married over the weekend and the decor from the wedding included several small pumpkins, which were given to guests at the end of the night. I took three. (In my defense, there were 9 leftover...it's not like I was taking them from other people.) I want to try making this, but we are with Mr. Barefoot's family this weekend and everything I ever cook at their house ends up being an unmitigated disaster. So this brings my next question - how long do pumpkins keep for?

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Butternut squash bean bake.

I'm on my own for a few days, as Mr. Barefoot is out of town. I'm eating up the rest of my Costco butternut squash and found this recipe. I've adapted it slightly and added beans, onions, and spices.
Ingredients:
1.5 lbs butternut squash, clean and cubed
1 small onion, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 can cannelini beans
1/2 cup parmesean cheese, grated.
Italian spices
salt
pepper
Olive oil

Procedure
1) Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
2) Heat olive oil in a small pan, saute garlic and onions until soft/transparent.
3) Combine squash, spices, oil, beans, and onions and garlic in a bowl. Toss until coated.
4) Pour mixture into a bowl and cover with parmesean cheese.
5) Cook for 50 minutes.

Verdict:
This was good, but make sure to cube the squash a lot smaller. The stuff on the bottom was great, but the stuff on the top did not cook well. I also added about a half cup of half and half towards the end (last ten minutes), and that helped a lot. I also tossed on some mozzerella cheese. I would wait to add the parm until the last 10 minutes.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Cheating.

I want to eat all good, local ingredients. I want to make the sensible financial decisions. I want to make delcious, transcendant meals. But sometimes, you just can't.
Today I'm trying to make this using this recipe. Reader C. sent me the recipe as a possible thing to do with a pumpkin, but since I already mashed my pumpkin up, I decided to just buy butternut squash.
Have you ever tried peeling a butternut squash by the way? It's very very hard. So I totally took the easy, cheating way out. I bought 2lbs of pre-cubed butternut squash at Costco. I used about a quarter of it for this, meaning I have plenty left for Moroccan spice butternut squash and butternut squash soup.
Yeah, it's cheating and it's not local and it's probably kind of expensive (I think I see BNS for $3 at the farmer's market, but arguably, this is two squashes worth and so $6 is pretty reasonable.) But I just made risotto in 5 minutes. It probably won't taste like transcendance in a bowl, but it probably will taste pretty darn good. I'll let you know.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Link Love

I don't read a lot of cooking blogs. I don't know why I don't, except that a fair number of them are very meat-y. Also, some of them with their obnoxiously good food photography are scary. My food? Does not look like that.
But just this morning, loyal reader and high school friend C. has turned me onto Cheap Healthy Good. And within 5 minutes of perusing it, I found like, 12 new recipes I Must Try.
Mr. Barefoot reads food blogs. Then he sends me links to things he, or I, or we, should make. Then we don't. He turned me on to Crockpot 365, which is great. But I simply do not have the energy to peruse a dozen food blogs. I read blogs written by people who like to cook (i.e. That Wife) but I don't really have a good store of food blogs.
So share your link love! What are your favorite food blogs? Are any of them vegetarian or pescatarian or vegetarian allies (i.e. make some meat free meals?)

Saturday, October 24, 2009

What to do with a pumpkin?

This morning we hit up the Waverly Farmer's Market, which was not nearly as large and crazy as advertised.
We picked up a cheese pumpkin, because Mr. Barefoot is making pumpkin beer today, and I get to use the other half to do as I would like.
I was thinking pumpkin lasagna, so I went off in search of a recipe.
I found this and this, but both require canned pumpkin.
Omg
. Also requires canned pumpkin. But omg.
This looks interesting, but I only have a half a pumpkin. You can bet I'll be trying it sometime soon though. How long are pumpkins in season for?
Ooooooh....want! I'm going to need to try this as well.
I think the answer for today is to cook the pumpkin, scrape out the meat, and then mash up the meat and refrigerate/freeze it.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Breakfast is Delicious

This is actually a recipe from last week, and I'm sorry to be late with it - but it's so delicious you'll forgive me.
Last week, Moose and Squirrel (my future sister-in-law and her boyfriend) came to stay with us, and I decided to throw together a slow cooker breakfast casserole and some pancakes (I had leftover buttermilk from an ill-fated cake I tried to make. I'm not posting the recipe because it was not good.)
(Breakfast casserole - I recommend putting everything in the crockpot and actually mixing it together.)
The breakfast casserole was a poor man's version of this - I only had a half a thing of hash browns, and I only used 6 or 7 eggs. And I had to use bacon, because, um, I don't know how to cook sausage. It always goes poorly. So I don't. Bacon? I can cook. I ate around the bacon in this one, and didn't have a lot anyway. Because I was focusing on the deliciousness that is the AB Pancake.
If you don't own "I'm Just Here For More food"...you might want to, but only if you have enough time to cook. I've tried making some of the stuff in it, and I'm sorry, but some of AB's recipes are just. too. complicated. This one was pretty simple. The only thing it asked of me that I couldn't give it was a food processor for sifting. I sift with a strainer, which works okay. The key to great pancakes, apparently, lies in not overstirring, and in letting the batter rest.
So here is the pancake recipe. (Make ahead version here. Which I'm sorry, will save you about 5 seconds. But if you really need that time, go for it.)
Ingredients:
2 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
3 tblsp sugar

2 L. eggs
2 cups buttermilk
4 tbsp unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled.

Procedure:
1.) Sift dry goods together.
2.) Mix wet goods together in a separate bowl.
3.) Pour wet goods into dry goods. Mix gently. You should not make more than 5 circles around the bowl. I think AB actually wants you to stick to 3. Batter will be lumpy. Do not break up the lumps! Do make sure you have scraped all the flour off the bottom and there are no massive clumps of flour.
4.) Set the batter aside to rest for 5 minutes. This is key. I know you are hungry, but wait.
5.) Heat a frying pan to medium-low, or an electric griddle to 350.
6.) Ladle pancakes into griddle and cook until bubbles have formed. Pay attention: Some of you may be inclined to flip your pancakes when they start to bubble - but you want to wait until they look like this.

See how the edges are cooked and the batter is looking like it set? You should be cooking your pancakes for about 3 minutes on one side, so adjust the heat lower and just be patient!

I think this was the best batch of pancakes I've ever made. I'm going to try it again soon with my usual buttermilk substitute of milk + vinegar.

Menu Planning

Menu planning is key to making sure you eat healthy. Even if you sometimes skip what you have menu planned, sitting down and doing the legwork is still key.
Today I hit the farmer's market my way home from Race for the Cure. I hadn't done any research, but we are trying to eat better and eat more vegetables here in the Treadhoffigan house. So I'm now trying to figure out what to do with my finds.
I bought myself a spaghetti squash, because I've heard interesting things about them. I think we will try this recipe sometime this week.
I also grabbed some sweet potatoes, and I think I'm going to try to make some kind of curry with them, but I'm still looking for a good recipe.
I picked up some seitan on the recommendation of a few friends when I was at Whole Foods on Friday, and I'm thinking we'll do a ginger-soy marinade stir fry type of dish. We don't have asparagus, but I think zuchinni might work okay.
We're also going to do unsloppy joes, to use up some of our vegetables and the rolls we have.
What are you eating?

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Pizza

I'm trying out a new pizza recipe today - and what I did that I think is pretty interesting is the sauce. I got sick of buying designated pizza sauce, so I started making my own - can of tomatoes, pot, and immersion blender - mix well, you've got sauce. But it's not very thick or interesting - so today, I tossed 2 cans of tomatoes, a can of white beans, and a whole lotta spices in the crockpot. I cooked it for about 8 hours on low, and when I got home I blended it all up. (I'm trying to use our immersion blender more so I can either convince myself that we should keep it, or convince Mark it's really not that great and we should get rid of it.)
The sauce looks good - creamy, red, thick, and tomato-smelling (it smelled like beans and tomatoes when I got in, but once I blended it, just tomatoes.)
It tasted a little too bean-y though - so next time, probably half a can of beans, and maybe some tomato paste. It's a good way to sneak in some protein though. (I might try silken tofu sometime.)
The pizza crust is good. Mark complains about my pizza crust, so I tried a new dough - from The New Best Recipe Cookbook. I'm not going to post it here because well, you should buy it.
It doesn't taste like restaurant pizza, but its less doughy than my usual pizza crust. I also cooked it at 525 and not 425 (I didn't know our oven went up to 525.) I didn't precook the crust and that was my only mistake. Always precook!
The dough makes 3 pizzas, so I'm gonna freeze it and do some kind of pesto pizza next week, and maybe a white pizza sometime soon. Or another brie pizza. Brie pizza is delicious. It's like heaven in a crust.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Dipping things in chocolate

Mmmmm. Chocolate. My good friend Mama Awesome and I got together and dipped things in chocolate to sell at a bake sale.
What did we make? Chocolate covered pretzels, chocolate covered oreos, these, and these:
Look how much we made!
So recipe for chocolate covered stuff?
Take a one pound bag of melting chocolate and melt in a stainless steel or glass mixing bowl over boiling water. (Makeshift double boiler.) Add pretzels or oreos and stir gently. Quickly transfer to a nonstick baking rack. (Otherwise chocolate will harden.) Package and/or eat.
For rice crispies, buy pre-made rice crispy treats and add a stick, then dip in chocolate. Yum.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

A gathering of recipes

Apparently one of the requirements for having a "good" food blog is that you include pictures of your delicious looking food. While I have known this for awhile, frankly, I would rather eat my food than take a picture of it. I don't want to pull out my camera, take a picture, then take out my card, upload my photo, and then upload it to the blog. That is a lot of work, and that is probably the main reason I've never taken this blog to "the next level" as a food blog. It has been and remains a gathering of recipes, ideas, and a smattering of advice. I don't consider myself a foodie. I don't consider myself a chef. I consider myself a girl with a set of really good knives, really nice pots, and a yen for comfort food done right. Have you noticed that I have at least 5 macaroni and cheese recipes here?
This blog sprang from a simple wish - when I studied abroad in Italy, I wished I had brought my kitchen recipe binder with me. I could vaguely remember how to make some of my old favorites, but I couldn't remember the measurements or the exact steps. Then Mr. Barefoot moved out of College Park and I would find myself at his apartment for a weekend with none of my recipes with me, wanting to cook something. I posted a few recipes to my email or to Google Docs, and then, as I started getting better at the whole cooking thing, people started asking me for recipes. "Blogs" as they exist today were still pretty new (that is, a dedicated space to talk about a particular subject, instead of a general angsty online journal) - I had started one for a student group and liked it, but it hadn't yet occurred to me to start my own. It occurred to me one day that a blog would be the perfect place to publicly store all of my recipes and let other people access them.
It's been a little over two years, and this little humble blog of mine has grown from a 2-person readership to a whopping 12. (Question - are my 3 followers on Blogger included in the Google Reader feed stats? Cuz if they're not, it's 15.) Generally speaking, I don't think I have that much to share with the internet that I feel that trying to "grow" the blog is worth it. I am a passable cook, and my strengths are making interesting vegetarian meals that don't weird out omnivores, making cheap food, and making damn good macaroni and cheese.
Posting has been light lately because I have a new blog-baby, www.weddingfortwo.blogspot.com, a venture that I am extremely proud of and devote more of my blogging energy to, and mostly because cooking in the Barefoot household has been boring. It's been a lot of reruns. We've barely been menu planning, and we come home and stare at the kitchen and say "wth are we going to eat?" We even broke down one night recently and ordered takeout! I would like to make sure I'm posting more of my recipes here, so that I don't get caught saying "I made this great meal...I meant to post it but I didn't."
So in light of that, I'm going to set a tangible, realistic goal. I will post at least one recipe a week. And include a picture with said recipe. (I think that just keeping a webcam in the kitchen and hooking it up to my computer will eliminate my whinyness about how much work it is.) Sound like a plan? Feel free to suggest new recipes, btw - they just need to be fish or vegetarian, and not take 7 hours to cook.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Roasted garlic

Last night I roasted garlic for the first time. It was amazing. And easy. And took a long time. I'm going to give instructions without breaking them up, because they are easy and I'm feeling lazy.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Take a small baking dish that is about an inch or two deep. I used a dish that is about 5 inches square and an inch and a half deep. Pour in 3/4 cup water and some vinegar (receipe recommended using white wine, I used white) - maybe a teaspoon. Take a clove of garlic, chop the top off with a really heavy knife in one fell swoop so the tips are exposed. Removed the losest layer of paper. Drizzle the top with olive oil and then cap with aluminum foil.
Bake for an hour.
There are a lot of purposes for roasted garlic. I used it for gourmet sandwiches and then I just ate it. I think I'll probably make a batch before big dinner parties and before thanksgiving, and just use it in everything.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Crab Mac & Cheese

So there is a bar around the corner called Crazy Lil's. And they make crab macaroni and cheese. So I decided to try it. Considering how expensive a jar of crab is, it was actually more expensive than getting it at the bar (although it did serve four of us instead of just me). I made it for a post-tubing meal for my hockey teammates and myself today.
I did it in the slow cooker as my friend does not yet have a stove (but she has a gorgeous kitchen.) The recipe isn't perfect yet, but it was delicious and Mr. Barefoot has spent the evening eating the leftovers I brought home and there are none left.
Ingredients:
  • 3 boxes cream cheese (you can use 1/3 less fat kind)
  • 1 box pasta (I used elbow macaroni, but I think next time I'll use penne)
  • cheese (I used 2 cups of yellow cheddar, but it actually wasn't that cheesy, so I would add some white cheddar as well)
  • 1 1/2 cups half and half (try it with milk and let me know how that goes)
  • 1 lb crab meat (buy it at Costco - the Phillips lump crab meat)
  • old bay
Procedure:
  1. Pour pasta into slowcooker (uncooked).
  2. Add half and half or other dairy liquid. Add old bay.
  3. Add cheese. And more old bay.
  4. Add crab meat. And some more old bay.
  5. Cook on high for 4 hours (our slow-cooker cooks so fast I actually cooked it on high for an hour and then I switched it to low for 3 while we went tubing.)
This was delicious. I was really surprised that the pasta cooked in the half and half and the moisture from the cheese/crab meat. But it did. I stirred about an hour into it, combining all the cheese and the crab meat (and added more Old Bay). It came out sticky and creamy and a delicious combo of crabmeat and cheese and pasta.
Try it. Play with the recipe. Get back to me on how you made it and whether that worked for you.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Barbecue Mac and Cheese

I cannot believe there is no recipe out there for this. A few weeks ago, I first started adding barbecue sauce to mac and cheese. Now, I'm not sure I can live without it. So I thought, "why don't they just cook the barbecue sauce into the mac and cheese?" I don't know. So here, my friends, is the best vegetarian dish for a barbecue you've seen yet. I made it in the slow cooker, but I may do a baked version soon.
Ingredients:
  • 1 lb macaroni
  • 2 cups shredded cheese
  • 1 12oz can evaporated milk
  • 1 1/2 cups 1% milk (can probably use skim as well)
  • 1 egg
  • Red Pepper Flakes
  • 1 bottle barbecue sauce (I used whatever Mark bought me, use whatever type suits your fancy - I'm not sure how vinegar based sauce will come out though)
  • salt and pepper
  • breadcrumbs
Eqiupment:
  • 6 qt slow cooker (for smaller, halve or quarter recipe)
  • small bowl
  • pot, colander, slotted spoon
  • not-slotted spoon
  • 2 dishtowels (clean!)
Procedure
  1. Cook macaroni until al dente. Drain. Grease slow cooker. Pour macaroni into slow cooker.
  2. In a separate bowl, mix evaporated milk, milk, and egg.
  3. Pour milk mixture over macaroni, stir to distribute evenly. Add red pepper flakes, salt, and pepper. Add one cup of cheese.
  4. Place 2 dishtowels over slow cooker, then put on lid (this absorbs condensation so the macaroni does not get all soggy.)
  5. Allow to cook for 30-40 minutes, until most of the liquid has boiled off. Add another cup of cheese and half a bottle of barbecue sauce. Stir to combine.
  6. Allow to cook for another 30-40 minutes. It should start looking pretty mac and cheesy at this point. Add the rest of the cheese, more barbecue sauce, and taste test. Do not stand over the crockpot eating out of it because its just too delicious.
  7. Once the sauce is a flavor and consistency of your liking, add breadcrumbs to the top and spray with vegetable oil or dot with butter if you want them to really brown.
  8. You now have two options - allow the slow cooker to cook for another hour to crisp up the breadcrumbs, or throw the whole thing under the broiler. I picked option 2 because people were here and dinner needed to be on the table. It's done when the breadcrumbs are brown.
I'll be working on a stovetop version soon, but I think the crockpot is best for slowly adding more barbecue sauce and I wanted to test this recipe out.
Enjoy!

Friday, August 14, 2009

Crockpot Caramelized Onion Crostini

I can't believe I've never posted this recipe! It's one of my favorite appetizers. It comes from 125 best vegetarian slow cooker recipes. I make smaller portions usually.
Ingredients:
  • 3 lbs onions
  • 3 tbsp melted butter
  • 1 tbsp granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp cracked black peppercorns
  • 1 tbsp fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 tsp balsamic vinegar
  • 16 crostini
  • 2 cups shredded Swiss or Gruyere cheese
Procedure:
  1. Slice onions really thin.
  2. Cook onions and melted butter in crockpot for 30-60 minutes until onions are softened.
  3. Add sugar, salt, and peppercorns. Put a towel or two under the crockpot lid to absorb moisture.
  4. Cook on high for 4 hours, stirring a few times.
  5. Stir in thyme and balsamic vinegar.
  6. Preheat broiler.
  7. Spread onions evenly over crostini and sprinkle cheese on top. Place on baking sheet and broil until cheese is melty - about 3 minutes. 5 results in charcoal.
I like to use more crostini and less onions on each one, and use a full loaf of french bread. I've also used this to stuff tomatoes (it wasn't very good) or to make a caramelized onion filling for sandwiches, or just to have caramelized onions at dinner. I love that I don't really have to babysit the crockpot, although I do feel I can't leave the house for a super-long period of time.

Home

So I'm home. The apartment is a disaster, I'm somehow already behind on schoolwork, and I feel overwhelmed.
I came home to an apartment missing all signs of Ms. Barefoot. With an emptied freezer, evidence of what life without a Costco membership could be; very little produce in the fridge; and a dishwasher filled with every single one of our bowls and three plates. The oven had some kind of spill on the bottom which may very well have been there since May which made it smoke when I tried to use it.
Nonetheless, I've been cooking. Today I broke out the big crockpot and the mandoline slicer. I'm also making bread because I have the counter space to really knead.
I've been shopping. I went to costco and stocked up on everything missing from the pantry. We still don't have enough vegetables in the house, but on Sunday we'll sit down and menu plan.
For now, I am home. Expect some more recipes coming soon. Sorry for the dearth lately.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

In which our intrepid hero attempts to eat her entire kitchen in three days....

Anyone who has ever moved more than 2 hours away knows the three Ps of eating down your kitchen before you move:
1) Prioritize
2) Perishables
3) Portability

1) Prioritize - the things that you cannot take with you or donate to a food pantry are the most important to eat. This is anything frozen and anything opened. This is why for the next three days, I will be eating a lot of salmon and also a weird pasta salad I made by mixing two boxes of pasta.
2) Perishables - perishables obviously must be consumed before the trip, but see rule 1. Potatoes should be less of a priority to eat than any kind of berries or grapes or other things that require refridgeration. Things like apples and any other eat-on-the-run snack makes a great road trip food, so take those with you and eat those berries.
3) Portability - this has been our biggest problem, not just on long distance moves but on short, half hour moves. Some foods are hard to travel with. Eat all canned beans. They are seriously heavy and tough to transport. Boxed foods can be very bulky and take up a lot of space. Baking supplies are usually fine to transport, and it makes no sense to throw away or donate a half-used can of baking powder.

My menu for the next few days? I dunno. But I'm apparently having salmon for every meal, because the frozen salmon I bought 10 weeks ago was a pack of 10 and not a pack of 4 as I had thought. It's going to be in the nineties, so I'm not sure how to cook it, except that cold salmon with a balsamic reduction is pretty good....also with brie, which I have. I was going to live off the cans of beans in the pantry, but I'm prioritizing the salmon and either taking the beans home or dropping them at a local shelter, space pending.
I have some fruit that I'll be eating down, and I'll be seeing what I can do with the rest of my foodstuffs to make road trip snacks for me and my mom (my mom is flying out to Cleveland and driving home with me). I have a bag of salad that I think I will eat in some kind of salmon with salad and balsamic vinegar.

Truthfully, I don't really want to eat any of these foods. When it is this hot out, all I can actually imagine eating is watermelon and grapes. But my shoulder has been hurting, so I think the increased fish intake will help with muscle repair, and who knows, maybe I can cook the salmon in the crockpot over night and chill it in the fridge during the day to have a nice cool salmon salad....

Saturday, August 8, 2009

It's not even 11am

And already I've made these and these. For the pretzels, I tried substituting beer for water, because I was wondering how it would taste.
Tasted a little too yeasty/beer-tastic. My roommate liked them, I didn't really care for them. Worth the experiment, and is helping lighten my load to go home.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Super Delicious Easy Ice Cream Cake

My boss brought in this ice cream cake for our coworker's birthday on Monday and it was amazing. She told us how to make it, and this isn't so much a recipe as an instruction set:
Ingredients:
  • 1 pkg Oreos - crushed
  • Reese's peanut butter cups (or toffee/heath bar; or Nestle crunch) - crushed
  • 1 container ice cream (normal sized), softened slightly so its easy to scoop
  • M&Ms
Procedure:
  • Take a pan you don't care about ruining the bottom of; or a cupcake pan with foil liners
  • Fill the bottom with crushed oreos, add crushed reese's peanut butter cups
  • Scoop in ice cream and smooth out (my coworker used cookie dough, but use whatever suits your fancy)
  • Top with M&Ms
I think I will try this, maybe with oreos and Nestle crunch bars and topped with mint chocolate chip. Or maybe with crushed gingersnaps and that great pumpkin pie ice cream they come out with in the fall (what else could I put in there? top with some kind of caramel?)
:) Yummy!

An open letter to my Grandpas

Dear Grandpa B and Grandpa D:
It's been three years since you both died, and I think about you a lot still. I think that you would be quite proud of me, not only because I've gotten really good at ice hockey (6+ points last season) and it turns out I'm pretty good at law school; because I'm nice to my big sister now, and just generally because of who I've turned out to be. But I think you also would be quite proud of me in other ways.
I eat brown rice now. Seriously. Yeah, I still love the white fluffy rice that comes in a bowl at a chinese food restaurant. But at home, I make brown rice. Because I hope you were right and I will live longer.
I try anything now. Seriously. The only thing I still won't eat are pickles, anything with mayonaise, and olives. But I'll try whatever somebody puts in front of me, and I won't make a face.
I eat vegetables. Lots of them. I just finished frying up some kind of weird squash thing.
I eat pepper. And spices. Seriously. Put 'em on everything. Can't live without 'em.
I eat the crusts off my sandwiches. My hair isn't really curly, like you always promised, so I have to conclude that you lied.
I eat mushrooms. Again, really. Marinated and sauted, raw in sandwiches, anything.
I clean my plate. I am almost always a member of the clean plate club. The key is to not put so much on your plate that it's hard to clean it.
I still love chocolate. And ginger snaps. And Opa cookies. Which taste better when you eat them sitting on a rock by a creek. Some things don't change.
I miss you both.
Love,
Ellie

Monday, July 20, 2009

Beer + Cooking = Food

I am not a beer drinker.  I just don't like it.  Give me a hard cider, a margarita, a glass of Reisling, and I am a happy camper, but I don't like beer.  This is not for lack of trying, which Mr. Barefoot will attest to.  We have just returned from Beer Tour '09, a two day jaunt around Michigan's finer breweries.  Breweries in which I tried at least one sip of at least one beer.  I do not care for beer. 
What I do care for though, is brewpub food.  I find brewpub food to be comfort food done right; new takes on classic favorites; relatively cheap but nonetheless interesting meals, and more fun than any fancy dinner out.  I like brewpub atmospheres - casual tables, dimly lit corners, etc.  Some of the places we went had a limited vegetarian selection, but most were delicious.  I also quite like beer in food - a beer cheese soup, beer bread, beer glazes, beer batter, etc.  It has the taste of the beer, but none of the horrible aftertaste, which is my main problem.
So what did I eat this weekend?  I'm so glad you asked. 
-Soft pretzels and a beer-cheese fondue
-fancy potato chips with a bleu cheese dipping sauce (I actually don't like bleu cheese much, but this was good)
-3-cheese macaroni and cheese (at a barbeque joint, where I then mixed bbq sauce with the mac & cheese, which was amazing.  Keep an eye out for a bbq mac & cheese coming to a barefoot kitchen near you). 
-Beer-crust white pizza, with a four cheese sauce, tomato, artichokes? and gorgonzola (it was actually pretty good, even though I forgot to ask them to take out the gorgonzola)
-Spinach and Artichoke dip (which was mostly vegetables, and pretty delicious)
-Nachos
-Goat cheese and vegetable quesadilla - (this was amazing, and my friend's fiance was kind enough to let me keep her leftovers as well as mine.)
Others may have different opinions of their favorite breweries from this weekend, but if you are ever in Michigan, I highly encourage you to check out Blue Tractor BBQ and Brewery (home of amazing mac&cheese and really good barbeque sauce), New Holland Brewery (beer crust pizza), and Arcadia Brewery (goat cheese quesadilla) if you are looking for good beer and good food.  If you are just looking for good beer, hop on out to Bell's Brewery, as I heard the beer was good there.
And, while you're at New Holland, try their cider.  They had an amazing berry cider that I had a sample of, which was absolutely amazing...it tasted like juice mixed with hard cider...and it had that fresh from the tap crispness of a good cider.  (I don't really care for bottled cider, but I love it on tap.)
We'll be doing a similar beer tour at home, I think, because this was just too much fun to only do once a year.  It's all a matter of finding somebody with a minivan though. 
I'll be trying out new recipes that I got ideas for this weekend sometime soon, so keep an eye out (and if it's September and you haven't seen bbq Mac & Cheese, feel free to hassle me!) 

Friday, July 17, 2009

Mushroom parmesean risotto

Last week I did something a little impulsive. And, I'm not gonna lie, I did it because Mark wasn't here to tell me that I couldn't. So I scoured Craigslist and I bought myself a brand new rice cooker. Because what girl living alone in Michigan doesn't need a 14-cup rice maker? I agree, I should have asked what size it was and gotten a more reasonable size.
However, on Monday night I cooked myself 2 cups (four servings) of rice to go with the delicious sweet and sour tofu and yellow curry I was planning to make this week. It worked out very nicely - it took a little longer than the internet said it would to cook, but I put 2 cups of brown rice in and washed it thoroughly, and then put in two cups of water. I hit the on switch, and 45 minutes later, I had rice. I would recommend not starting the rice cooker when you have a slow cooker of food all ready to go though, because my sweet and sour tofu got cold.
It makes perfect sticky, fluffy, Chinese food restaurant brown rice. Brown rice is just better when it's fluffier, it's true.
So here I had 4 servings of rice, which it turns out, is a lot. So I actually got most of my meals for the week out of it. Last night I made an amazing risotto with the last of it. Here's the recipe, although feel free to play around. Quantities are not exact. Just pour.
Ingredients:
  • 2 cups cooked brown (or other type) rice
  • 6 small white mushrooms (because I only had six - go ahead, use more)
  • chopped garlic
  • olive oil
  • half and half
  • salt
  • pepper
  • veggies for a side
  • parmesean cheese (probably about a cup, shredded)
Procedure:
  1. Heat olive oil over medium heat, saute garlic until yummy.
  2. Add mushrooms
  3. Add half and half (I would say pour in at least a quarter cup)
  4. Add rice. Mix into half and half until half and half bubbles and is absorbed.
  5. Add cheese. Stir until melted.
  6. Add salt, pepper, and other spices if you are lucky enough to have them.
  7. Serve with veggies (I had brocolli and asparagus.)
Pretty darn good, and waaaaay quicker than a standard risotto.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Vegetarians at the Grill: The Food

I went to a barbeque yesterday and brought vegetable grillables. I like to grill red peppers, mushrooms, and onions in a foil packet. I marinate them in balsamic vinegar, olive oil, and garlic. What I found out yesterday is that you can take an entire bulb of garlic, peel it, chop off the hard part on the bottom, and then stick it in your Cuisinart mini-prep mini food processor and in 3 seconds you have minced garlic. Then you pour in the balsamic vinegar and olive oil, and you have a marinade. I like to add more spices, but we didn't have any.
Yesterday was the first time I tried marinating the mushrooms for more than a few minutes, and they were amazing - they had a really sharp garlicky flavor to them, probably because of the entire bulb of garlic that was minced up really tiny. In the future, I will probably cook them longer to tone down the garlic. I might also try roasting the garlic first...mmmm.
Another thing I tried was potatoes in tin foil on the grill - these were amazing. Take potatoes (the white ones with the thin skin, or redskins) and chop them up into small pieces (about an inch) and wrap them in foil with some olive oil and salt and pepper (I also used Montreal steak seasoning.) It is actually best to roll up the foil like a tootsie roll so you can flip it. Toss them on the grill at the beginning, and then flip after about 10 minutes so both sides get crispy.
These were both big hits at the barbeque and makes me wish I had a grill here.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Appetizing Fare

The google, it knows what I like...in my gmail this morning, one of the ads was a link to this. I'm now putting it on my list of possible party fare, especially because at least the asparagus in blankets look pretty easy. (I haven't clicked on the recipe, but my guess is crescent dough, cheese, and asparagus.) I'm currently trying to organize a couple of parties in the fall, because I miss my friends, and these seem like some delicious ideas. I'll let you know how they go.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Vegetarians at the Grill

So I went to the beach with my cousins for a week last week, and I considered something about being a vegetarian at the grill. I had veggie burgers and kebabs to grill - but I hate being the pushy vegetarian shoving people around. So here are Ms. Barefoot's rules for grilling and special diets:
Rule 1: If you care about what your food touches, BYOG. My kosher cousin showed up with his portable kosher grill. He and his wife prepared their own food, kept their grill away from the others, and did not get in anyone's way. Do not demand the grill be scrubbed before your veggie burger touches it. I actually don't care where my food is cooked.
Rule 2: Wait your turn. Veggie burgers cook much faster than meat, so wait to go last. If you don't want to go after the meat, see Rule 1.
Rule 3: Don't tell other people what's in their food. Seriously. Nobody likes you. Shut up and go eat your boca burger. No lectures. Just stop. Nobody cares about methane, you are at a barbecue.
Rule 4: If you have preferences for veggie burgers, be specific or bring your own. I only like one brand of veggie hot dogs, the rest taste like dirt. (Morningstar Farms rocks; Smart Dogs are literally eating trash.)
Rule 5: Marinate your veggies before they go on the grill. Otherwise, they will taste dry.
Rule 6: Consider foil. If you don't want your food touching the grill, wrap your veggies or your burger in foil and toss it on. This also keeps them really moist and juicy.
Rule 7: Don't make other people eat your gross veggies, no matter how unhealthy you think they are.
Rule 8: Don't toss your meat or dairy products on somebody else's kosher or vegetarian or halel grille.
Rule 9: Don't burn anything down. Don't leave anything on the grill. Peppers burn.
Rule 10: Leave your shoes at the door.
Is there such a thing as too many fruits and vegetables? I'm beginning to think...maybe. Today I ate blueberries and yogurt for breakfast, beans with zuchinni and onions and broccoli for lunch, and then some grapes as a snack before my run, then a banana after my run, then for dinner I'm having two Boca Chik'n Patties and some green beans. (Snacks were Wasa crispbread with peanut butter.)
I don't feel good. I just feel kinda nauseous. This might be because my run went poorly.
Tomorrow, I'm easing up on the heavy fruits and veggies and returning to some carbs. I'm still trying to keep sodium, gluten, and animal fats to a minimum. I purchased some quinoa pasta and some rice cakes today, for some variety.
The advantage of detoxing has been that I have finally gotten the FDA recommended serving of fruits and vegetables. The disadvantage is that I'm bored eating just fruits and veggies - even though they are different, they all taste a little the same after too much.
I have found that I really like my vanilla yogurt spiked with blueberries - two things I don't like very much on their own. I have found that I miss things, even though I don't eat them daily, I just want them now that I can't have them. I have also found that I'm not totally lacking in willpower - today I engaged in a staring contest with some candy in the breakroom, and let it go.
Today was not a good recipe day, so I'll let you know tomorrow what kind of sauce I put on my pasta....its gotta be low sodium and low in animal fat...

Monday, July 6, 2009

Zuchinni and the Crockpot.

Don't do it. Don't. Zucchini is not so difficult to make that you have to use the crockpot. Seriously. It sautes in about five minutes.
Tonight I made a delicious bean and onion dish. Then I ruined it by putting zucchini on top. Zucchini does not slow cooker right. Just say no.
How is the detox going? Fine, except for the bag of tortilla chips sitting on my floor, staring at me. I'm debating whether popcorn is on the detox menu, as long as I lay off the salt.
I think I'm going to go have some grapes.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

I'm back....

Ish.
Okay, so I know I'm majorly behind here. Truth be told, I haven't been doing a ton of cooking out here, and what I have been cooking isn't new. Without Mr. Barefoot around, I don't really have a lot of incentive to mix it up and try stuff - because I'm usually happy to eat the same thing twice a week.
However, last week was Barefoot Beach Week - myself, Mr. Barefoot, and my sister, and four of our cousins and their families partied it up for a week at the beach. And I saw my weight and physical health make a dramatic shift. I cut down on my gym time and upped my salt and alcohol intake.
So what am I doing about it now? Detoxing. I read an article that talked about how stupid detox and cleanse diets are, so I decided to do one. I'm kidding. Sorta. I'm going to attempt to flush all the sodium and crummy food I put in myself last week with normal sized portions of healthy foods this week. I decided to focus on eating food, mostly whole foods, for the next week. I'm trying to cut my sodium down, eat only whole grains and less dairy and less fat. So what does that leave? I went to the grocery store today and bought:
-Red Onions
-Sweet Potatoes
-White Potatoes
-Zucchini
-Yellow Squash
-Grapes
-Blueberries
-Yogurt
-Brown rice
-Garlic
-Romaine lettuce
-Carrots
-Celery
-Broccoli
-Green Beans
-Pomegranete Green Tea and Stevia in the Raw
-Soup
-Mushrooms
I think that's pretty much it. I came home and made no-mayo potato salad, steamed broccoli, and a slow cooker meal for tomorrow night of beans, onions, garlic, and zucchini.
It is entirely possible that by the end of this week I will have fully turned green. I plan to use the carrots and celery to make vegetable broth for soup (although in all fairness I did forget that last time, it wasn't very good.) I'm considering doing some kind of sweet potato black bean chilli, some salmon with green beans, quinoa with zucchini and squash, possibly a whole grain pasta with mushrooms and green beans, and then some kind of soup with the carrots and celery. For snacks, I think I will stick with Wasa Crispbread and peanut butter, for some carbs and protien.
Anybody have any better ideas for detox meals? I will be pairing this with drinking an immense amount of water, taking vitamins, and drinking some kind of sports drink to make sure my electrolytes are in balance.
Input?

Monday, June 15, 2009

BB-Fu

I've been wanting to try barbeque tofu for a little while now. I tried it last Friday and served it up with some No Mayo Potato Salad, and some corn on the cob.
I don't have a kitchen timer yet, so I actually cooked everything when I got home from work, then tossed it in the crockpot to keep it warm while I collected Mr. Barefoot from the airport. I'm going to try it again soon (I found an Asian grocery store that stocks cheap tofu) without pre-cooking everything. I may still fry up the tofu because I like for it to be a bit crispy - although if I got some sub rolls, a messy barbeque sandwich with slightly soft/shredded tofu might be amazing...
Ingredients:
  • 1/2 package of tofu, cut into 1-inch chunks. I froze mine and then thawed it out - for stuff like this, the tougher the better.
  • BBQ sauce - I used some I bought at Trader Joes. Whatever flavor you prefer.
  • 2 ears Corn on the Cob.
Equipment:
  • 1.5 quart crockpot
  • Stove, frying pan
  • Microwave
Procedure:
  1. Thaw and drain tofu. Saute in a frying pan until crispy on all sides (either kind of yellowish or brownish).
  2. Pour BBQ sauce in the crockpot until bottom is covered. Add tofu. Pour more BBQ sauce on top and stir tofu until well coated.
  3. Microwave corn for 4 minutes, in husks. Shuck corn under cold water. (Seriously - try it. It is the most helpful thing my grandpa ever taught me. Well, that and never try to exit a burning building via a revolving door. But I use this tip more.)
  4. Cut corn cobs in half. Add to crockpot on top of the tofu. Don't worry if it gets a little saucy.
  5. Cook for 2 hours.
If anybody wants to try doing this with the corn un-cooked before putting it in, I would say cook it for 4-6 hours and let me know how it tastes and whether the tofu holds up.

Overall, I hadn't really considered using the crockpot at a good way to keep things warm/finish things off before a dinner party - but it really is excellent for that, and I think it will come in handy at future family parties.

No Mayo Potato Salad

A few years ago my friend Tess made a potato salad with some kind of Italian dressing or vinaigrette or something. I just remember it didn't have mayonnaise in it, and that was the only way I could be convinced to eat it. For those of you new to the blog: Mayo is Disgusting.
The other night, I decided to make some potato salad for myself and Mr. Barefoot. It came out pretty good - it could probably be spiced up a little bit, and I'll keep tweaking the recipe some. Suggestions for spices are appreciated.
Ingredients:
  • 4 yellow potatoes (in Ann Arbor, all the potatoes have a really thin skin). Redskins would probably work well as well. I peeled the potatoes and then diced them, but peeling is definitely optional. I diced them into about 3/4 inch squares.
  • Olive Oil
  • Salt, pepper, Italian seasonings to taste
  • Balsamic vinegar
Procedure:
  1. Boil a large pot of water. Add potatoes. Boil for about 10 minutes, until soft.
  2. Drain in a colander.
  3. Put in a bowl with some olive oil (just pour it until it looks wet.) Add some balsamic vinegar, and a lot of spices. I used Italian seasoning, salt, pepper, and anything else I could find on the windowsill that looked edible (I miss our spice rack...). Fresh herbs would probably be even better.
  4. Chill for approximately 2 hours.
The best part was we fried the leftovers up for breakfast and ate them as home fries. Also, if you took this to a picnic you wouldn't have to worry about food poisioning.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Zuchinni and Quinoa Pilaf

I went to the farmer's market this morning. I got some zuchinni and asparagus. I made zuchinni with quinoa and onions and garlic for dinner. It was pretty good, but I would have cooked the garlic and the zuchinni at the same time. Also, I'm bitter because the guy at the farmer's market gave me the smallest zuchinni that they had!
Ingredients:
  • Yellow Zuchinni
  • Green Zuchinni
  • Garlic
  • 1/2 Onion
  • 1/4 cup quinoa
  • 1/2 cup water
  • Salt & Pepper
Procedure:
  1. Chop all ingredients. I like to slice the zuchinni really thin. Mince garlic and onions.
  2. Rinse quinoa. Boil in 1/2 cup of water and reduce to a simmer.
  3. Saute onions until soft.
  4. Add garlic and zuchinni.
  5. Saute until delicious. Add seasonings.
  6. Add quinoa once water has been absorbed.
You can eat with cheese, or without. I'm trying to cut down on my cheese intake, so I abstained.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

What goes with Crab?

A friend is having his birthday party on Saturday and is throwing a crabfeast (he's a friend from Maryland...was that not obvious?) So the question is - what goes with crab?
I'm hoping to make and bring soft pretzels (recipe forthcoming) and a cake. (Last year there was a run on cake.)
I can't decide what kind of cake to bring. I'm dying to make a whole cake from scratch. I'm considering this cake, but it does look awfully complicated (and I forgot to buy cornstarch yesterday.) I think a lemon cake would be just summery and light and fluffy enough to go with the crabfeast, but maybe not enough people like lemon cake.
I also considering a carrot cake or spice cake - something with a little more density than a regular cake.
Or a red velvet cake, to be as Maryland as possible.
I'm also trying to avoid having to buy too many only-use-once ingredients for my kitchen here, since it turns out food is expensive.
There is also the option of cupcakes, cheesecake, or cupcake pops, which do look like fun to attempt.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

mmmm dinner.

Tonight I finally got myself to a grocery store. I've been living off a Target and Trader Joe's preliminary run which left me with a random array of foodstuffs.
So for dinner I made myself eggplant topped with sauted onion and cheese.
Ingredients:
  • eggplant, sliced into half-inch-thick slices
  • onions, cut into slices
  • cheese (I used cheddar and mozzerella)
Procedure:
  1. Preheat oven to 425
  2. Saute onions in frying pan. Set aside.
  3. Fry eggplant in pan.
  4. Set eggplant on cookie sheet. Top with onions and cheese.
  5. Bake in the oven for about 5-7 minutes or until cheese is bubbly and melty.
This was good, but it has a lot of potential. Different cheeses, and next time I'm definitely adding garlic to the onions mixed. And maybe some balsamic vinegar.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Bulgar

So my latest kitchen acquisition has been a bag of Bulgar wheat. Bulgar is basically just another grain, but its different than cous-cous, rice, pasta, and quinoa. It's a little wheatier - more like brown rice, but less "together'. It's great because you get the texture of brown rice but it takes half the time to cook.
To cook bulgar, you can either follow the instructions on the package, or boil 7 oz. of bulgar with 750 mL water (the recipe I used today was metric.) Some recipes will call for cooked bulgar to start with. Some will give you instructions.
Today we had a ton of leftover mushrooms (why, oh why, do I shop at Costco?) so I made a mushroom bulgar pilaf type thing.
Ingredients:
  • 7 oz. Bulgar
  • 750 mL water
  • Bunch of mushrooms (I think probably a half pound)
  • Olive Oil
  • Butter
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Garlic
  • Parmesean cheese
  • Sundried tomatoes, chopped/sliced thin.
Procedure:
  1. Cook bulgar and water together (with some salt). Cook for about 15 minutes. Drain off excess liquid.
  2. In a separate pan, saute garlic in olive oil and butter on medium heat. Add mushrooms, saute until mushrooms look delicious.
  3. Add bulgar to mushrooms. Add salt and pepper.
  4. Add parmesean to mix.
  5. Serve garnished with sundried tomatoes.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Chocolate Crinkles

To celebrate the end of exams (one paper left) I put together some cookie dough. I'm about to bake it up to test it out (I've been having trouble with cookies coming out flat lately.)
These are Chocolate Crinkles from the Betty Crocker Cooky Book
Ingredients:
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 4 sq. unsweetened chocolate (4oz., melted)
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 2 cups Gold Medal Flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup confectioners sugar (yeah, I don't think you actually need this much)
Procedure:
  1. Mix oil, chocolate, and granulate sugar
  2. Blend in one egg at a time until well mixed
  3. Add vanilla
  4. Add flour
  5. Add 2 tsp. baking powder, and salt.
  6. Chill overnight/for a few hours
  7. Roll in powdered sugar and shape into balls
  8. Bake at 350
Uh. I just realized I didn't add baking powder or salt. I'm going to go deal with that.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Ew.

A friend had this link up this morning. All of the food on there just made me feel really really nauseated. I mean, seriously, who wants to wrap bacon around that much food?
I love the way food tastes. But as much as I find McDonald's french fries delicious and love to indulge in the occasional burger or greasy grilled cheese, I find that as I've gotten older, my tastes shift more to whole foods. Foods that offer texture, taste, and flavor at the expense of high amounts of fat and chemical processing.
So I find pictures like these much more appetizing. Even if the food is not necessarily "health" food, it is real food. I wish I could translate this recipe, it looks delicious.
Now I really want a fresh mixed greens salad or a vegetarian panini. Unfortunately, its mystery hot pocket day in the barefoot lunch bag.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Mr. Barefoot's Guest Post #2

This Slate piece on homemade vs storebought crossed my screen last week; many of the items considered turned out not to be worth the time, but the bagels got rave reviews, so I decided it would be a good weekend project (something I've been short of lately, other than wedding planning). The recipe is pretty involved, so I won't reproduce it here - just follow the link and try them yourself.

Baking isn't really my thing, so it probably wasn't a smart move to kick Ellie out of the kitchen for offering too much advice - especially before she'd gotten around to defining a "light coat" of flour on a work surface...(hint: It's not light. If you can see any part of the work surface, you're not done. Bagel dough is sticky, sticky stuff. I may start using it as a construction adhesive.) (hint #2: dough allegedly sticks less to plastic cutting boards than wood. Ideally I would have used the counter - it wound up covered in flour anyway so it's not like I got out of cleaning it - but I didn't feel like dealing with any remnants of the various toxic - er, all-natural - cleaning products it's most likely coated in.

Despite all those challenges, the bagels turned out pretty darn well. They were amazing straight out of the oven, and at least as good as generic store-bought the next morning. I wouldn't expect them to last too well, but I didn't have the chance to test that. I topped a handful with various spices that were within easy reach - minced onion flakes, cinnamon sugar, mixed-up pepper, and cumin seed, but the dough was tasty enough to stand on its own. In the future I would probably experiment with including cheese (chunks, so you get the big pockets in the dough lined with thick melted cheese) or caraway seeds, but always leaving at least half plain. Next time I'll also make a smaller batch, because this is too much bread to eat in a single weekend.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Cornbread Verdict

The cornbread was good - especially with chili, because the chili was moist enough that the cornbread soaked it up like a sponge - I'm still on the quest for the perfect moist cornbread, and have yet to find it. I've tried adding applesauce, extra water, extra eggs, extra milk, rum, none of these are the answer. I think the answer might just lie in like, a full stick of butter. Any tips???

Monday, April 27, 2009

Cornbread

I tried this cornbread. Verdict later.

Ingredients:

  • 3.5/4 cups stone ground cornmeal
  • .5(3/4) cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3/4 cups milk (I used milk powder because somebody used up all the milk)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 tablespoons melted butter
  • 1 to 2 teaspoons vegetable oil for the pan or skillet

Preparation:

Heat oven to 425°. Put a sturdy 8- or 9-inch iron skillet or square baking pan in the oven.

In a medium bowl, combine the cornmeal, flour, salt, and baking powder. Whisk to combine.

In a large glass measuring cup or a bowl, whisk the 1 1/2 cups of milk with the egg and melted butter. Stir into the dry mixture until blended.

Carefully remove the hot pan from the oven and swirl a teaspoon or two of vegetable oil around in it until the bottom is coated. Spread the batter in the pan and bake the cornbread for 22 to 25 minutes, or until lightly browned.

I used my Le Cruset Stoneware Baker. It's such a good size for 2 - person dishes.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Ya'll are smart people.

Okay people. When I say I love my crock-pot because "you put shit in, and food comes out," I do mean it. And I meant it when I said you can put anything in a crockpot.
Recently a friend was telling me about a girl who had heard from somebody (and I feel guilty, as I'm pretty sure it was me) that she could put anything in a crockpot. So she put in some leftover turkey, some rice, some canned tomatoes, and some grape jelly.
People. Let's regroup. I'm almost 2/3rds a lawyer, so I can tell you this: A reasonable person in the reader's position would not have thought that anything meant that turkey and grape jelly would go together. Let's be reasonable here!
Possible crock-pot combos:
Beans, tomatoes, garlic, onions, and rice. Just make sure you have enough liquid that the rice cooks.
Tofu, a marinade, and fresh vegetables.
Tofu, potatoes, peas, green beans, peppers, a helluva lot of curry, and some coconut milk.
Maraschino cherries, pineapple, cake mix, and butter.
Chili beans, chili powder, and a whole hunk of meat.
Salmon in foil packets with lemon juice and olive oil over a bed of potatoes.
All of these things are what I meant by "you put shit in, and food comes out."
I realize that not everyone can cook well - but here's the thing - the crockpot cooks food for you. It is not magically able to transform grape jelly into gravy.
Are we clear?

Goat Cheese and Black Bean Buritto

So I came home for lunch today and made myself a burrito, but since I splurged at Costco and bought goat cheese over the weekend, I knew I wanted to use it. (Goat cheese is $4 for like, 1lb. of it at Costco, so its really not a splurge.) I had a black bean and goat cheese burrito at Burrito Beach when we were in Chicago, and it was delicious, so I decided to channel that.
Ingredients:
  • Goat cheese
  • Black Beans (I used about a half a can, but that was for just me)
  • Spinach leaves (fresh.)
  • red onion (I happened to have some leftover, you could use regular onion as well, or no onion
  • Salt, pepper, and garlic powder to taste (I was too lazy to mince garlic)
  • Tortilla
Procedure:
  1. Saute onions in olive oil.
  2. Add black beans and warm through. Remove from heat. Season.
  3. Add goat cheese and melt in with the black beans
  4. Put tortilla in the microwave (I zap them for about 20 seconds so they are more malleable.
  5. Spread a thin layer of goat cheese on the tortilla.
  6. Add some spinach leaves.
  7. Pile on the black beans.
  8. Enjoy.
I estimate the total cost of this burrito to be less than $1.50. I think the one I got at Burrito Beach was like, $6. It did have veggies and rice though, but this has certainly perked up my Tuesday, all in about 10 minutes.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Low carb french toast

Cinnamon scrambled eggs!
This morning I wanted something sweet, but not to make a mess (we're having people over for dinner). I made cinnamon scrambled eggs - basically french toast mix, but without bread, which cuts the calories signifigantly, and makes them super easy to make.
I'm not even going to bother with the usual recipe format, they were so easy.
Take two eggs, whisk in two tablespoons of sugar, a dash of cinnamon, and some milk (maybe a tablespoon or two, it should look creamy.) Scramble!

Enjoy!

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Salad

So Mr. Barefoot is anti-salad. He doesn't like it. He doesn't like raw foods, generally speaking. But yesterday was his birthday, and I didn't make him a special dinner but I made him a nice salad. Well, I put the fixings for it in the refrigerator.
Because what does a nice salad require, when you are Mr. Barefoot, the anti-salad guy?
Bacon.
Also bleu cheese - but I went with feta for my own.
So I had to start by making bacon - I guess I could have bought those bacon bits, but I didn't. So I bought bacon - lean turkey bacon from Trader Joes - which I put in a pan on the stove, turned it to medium-low, and then let cook, flipped eventually. It looks like bacon, and smells like it. Yum.

My own salad did not have bacon, but was delicious. I used a bag of mixed baby greens, including spinach, and feta cheese, and balsamic vinaigrette. (Plus some croutons.)
We actually each had two salads last week. :)

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Bargains

So if you are at the point in your life, where I am, when everybody is getting married, it might not be surprising if, when you see items like this on sale, you are struck with the urge to buy six and just give them to everybody you know as wedding gifts. Go to Slickdeals to get the activation link for free shipping as well. (Deal is from Sunday the 22nd.)
I'm really tempted to buy one for myself....the green is so pretty!

Monday, March 23, 2009

Vegetarian Wedding Food

Okay, so I contacted a vegetarian caterer in Bethesda to gauge how much food costs if you have it catered to a place like my church.
This was the food they/I suggested (I told them it would be fall, which is why there is so much pumpkin on the menu...and does pumpkin lasagna sound fantastic or weird?)
Appetizers
Veggie Platter with Hummus
Warm Artichoke Spinach Dip with Melba & Crusty Baguette Spears
Filo Triangles Stuffed with Pumpkin or your choice
ON THE BUFFET
Roasted Veggie or Pumpkin Lasagna
Ratatouille and Grilled Polenta Moons OR Veggie Chili
Romaine or Spinach Salad with Vinaigrette (chef's suggestion)
Artisan Bread & Butter
Coffee/Tea Service
Cranberry Punch

Does this sound like food that carnivores would eat? I think it sounds amazing.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Instinct Mashed Potatoes

I made mashed potatoes this week, but I couldn't find a recipe that used the ingredients I had on hand, so I figured I would make it up.
We had a giant bag of potatoes and are going to England tonight, so I wanted to use them up. Mr. Barefoot was off at his volleyball game so I had to keep them warm, so I baked them.
Ingredients:
-Potatoes. I probably used around 10 small potatoes, scrubbed and chopped up into small pieces - about 1inch cubes.
-Garlic - I used this up too - I think we had like half a bulb.
-Heavy Cream - was using this up too. I used half a container, but I would have preferred to use MUCH less.
-Butter
-Parmesean cheese
-Breadcrumbs
Equipment:
-Le Cruset small casserole dish (or, I suppose, an 8x8 pan - although I wouldn't have had enough to fill that; or a loaf pan.)
-Pot
-Potato masher (the Oxo one is the best!)
-Spatula
-Oven at 350
Procedure:
1. Boil potatoes in water. Dump into colander.
2. Melt butter in same pan used for potatoes, saute garlic until delicious.
3. Add cream. Simmer for about 10 minutes, until reduced.
4. Add potatoes. Allow potatoes to simmer in cream for another 5 minutes.
5. Mash. If the cream is not blended into the potatoes enough, just let it keep cooking. It will reduce. Shred and melt in parmesean.
6. Pour into dish, add breadcrumbs to the top. Bake until bread crumbs are toasty (about 30 minutes).
(salt and pepper to taste)
This was good. A little greasy, because it was so high in fat - in the future, I don't think I would use more than 1/4 cup heavy cream, and then I would have the rest be milk.
Baking gave them a nice crispyness on top.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

A potless girl in a strange city

So Mark and I moved in together over a year ago, and combined our kitchens. I threw out all of his stuff and replaced it with mine, because I'm a controlling woman and my stuff is nicer. So how do we divide it up again?
I am moving to Michigan for the summer, to work in a job that sounds amazing. To me, this means that I get to use my pineapple sheets and flowered duvet cover and pretend I'm single. It also means that...we have to divide up the kitchen, possibly. Depends on whether the sublet I find comes with pots. It'll be furnished, but furnished does not always mean pots.
I'm pretty sure that I can get by with the basics - my knives, a cutting board, an always (3qt) pot and an always pan (6qt. saute). I guess I need a colander. Oh, and my food processor. Fortunately, I'm currently hoarding two.
I'm planning to borrow some knives from my dad so that Mark and I don't have to be too hard up - and I'm leaving the meat knives with him, as it only seems fair. I get the veggie knife and the (new!) tomato knife. Cuz there is a farmer's market.
If we have to acquire pots, we'll either hit up my sister who just got married and has an excess, or try goodwill, or check Ikea.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Salad

Okay, so today is a set of instructions, not so much a recipe. How to make a salad. A real salad - not a bag-o-salad dumped into a bowl with some croutons.
1) Go to Target or Goodwill and spend $3 on a salad spinner. There is a super-cheap one at Target on the dollar shelf - you won't regret it.
2.) Consider what type of salad you want to make. Decide on a dressing first, because a dressing sets the tone of your salad. I alternate between balsamic vinaigrette and Italian. When buying a dressing, consider the fat content. Try to pick a dressing that has 2-6 grams of fat - you need a little bit of fat to reap all of the benefits of salad. Stay away from creamy dressings unless that is the only way you will eat your salad.
3.) Buy some lettuce. Try not to go for iceberg lettuce - go for either a mixed greens that you can buy by-the-pound, or go for two types of lettuce. Since Mr. Barefoot hates salad, I buy one type of lettuce, because it takes me at least two salads to eat it, and it goes bad in a week. I like either romaine or red leaf lettuce - whatever you do, go for a dark lettuce. Also, maybe toss in some spinach or arugula.
4.) Consider what else you would like - tomatoes? red onion? red pepper? I like cucumbers in my salad, if I'm having an Italian dressing salad; sometimes tomatoes, and occasionally red pepper. Some people like thawed/cooked corn in their salads. Beans? Cal Tor has an amazing black bean salad with black beans, tomatoes, corn, and lettuce, but I need to be having a salad with a Mexican type dressing to go for black beans and corn in my salad. If you are doing a ranch salad, go for carrots and Broccoli - yum!
5.) Now that you are done with produce, consider toppings. I require cheese on my salad - parmesean, feta, or goat cheese. Goat and feta are a little lower in fat. Sometimes I like some mozzerella - the little balls - and I cut them up and they are great in a leafy green salad with balsamic dressing. With goat cheese or feta, I like to do the dried cranberries. With parmesean and Ceasar, Italian or balsamic dressing, I like to do croutons. Some people like nuts in their salad, but I'm not one of them.
6.) Protien - I usually don't add any, some people like chicken strips. I keep meaning to try some of the vegetarian salad finishers. Or I could just add some white beans or tofu that has been marinating in italian dressing.
7.) Now that you are done shopping, its time for assembly. Go home and break out your 12" serrated bread knife. If you don't own one, why not? Saw through the lettuce until it is in front of you in 1-1.5 inch strips. Put the salad leaves in the strainer from your salad spinner. Now wash the salad leaves. If you are really afraid of dirt, float the leaves in a bowl of water for 10 minutes, then fish the leaves off the top - the dirt will have sunk to the bottom.
8.) Spin the salad. Let it sit and drain some more while you chop the other vegetables and produce for your salad. Be sure to wash those too.
9.) Dump the leaves into a big mixing bowl. If you have salad scissors, use them now. Add some dressing - probably about half a serving. Using a rubber spatula (a spoonula is even better), toss the leaves with the dressing until each leaf is evenly coated. Add your other produce and toppings and mix them in.
10.) Serve salads into salad bowls. (This is the part where I confess that I skip this set, and sit on the couch, midafternoon, with a giant mixing bowl in my hands and eat straight out of it.) I find that to weigh the salad down enough to fit enough salad in the small salad bowls, I have to coat the leaves in dressing, and I don't like an excess of dressing. So the high walls of the mixing bowl help keep the salad from ending up everywhere.