Tuesday, April 27, 2010

On my own

Mr. Barefoot has been out of town for, essentially, the last month.  This kind of stinks, because he was doing all the cooking this semester and surprisingly, I liked it that way.  I got used to it.  So now, I'm living like I lived in college - I get home, stare at my kitchen, and make food that comes in a box.  I haven't had time to go grocery shopping, so I'm now down to my pantry and concerned about scurvy.
Tonight, I had my last law school class, and I threw something in the crockpot before I left so I didn't have to stand up and cook (I ran a half marathon over the weekend and the doctor no longer recommends standing.)  I've been using my small crockpot as a rice cooker lately and it's great.
Crockpot black beans and rice:
1.) Put 1 cup rice, 1 can black beans, and 1.5 cups water in a crockpot.
2.) Add salt, pepper, garlic powder, dried onion, oregano, cumin, and a little chilli powder.
3.) Plug in crockpot.  Cook on low for 2-2.5 hours.
4.) Eat (garnished with cheese, if you are high maintenance).  Marvel at how easy it is to cook a healthy, cheap meal for yourself while you are at tax class.

What are your favorite single person recipes?

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Remember the Vegetarians!

I recently had the pleasure of organizing the food for my last honor society event, and I picked a pasta dish and a grilled vegetable dish.  (It was the first time I've ever ordered exactly the right amount of food - I was pleased.)  Neither dish had any meat in it, and I did this not to further my own goals as a tree-hugging vegetarian, but because of what happened at our fall event.
In the fall, I ordered meat taquitos and quesadillas for 30+ people (we had about 30 people in attendance), and ordered veggie quesadillas for an additional 10-15 people (because we had myself and a few other non-meat eaters.)  By the time I finished serving the sangria, there was a half a plate of meat quesadillas left, but the veggie ones had all been scarfed up!  I think I got one!
What happened is what always happened: damn carnivores!  They take their meat, and then they see the veggie stuff, and think, "ooh, I want to try something of everything, I'll take some of this."  So as a general rule, when ordering for a function, order equal amounts of the veggie and meat dishes, or more of the veggie if you know you have a lot of vegetarians.
For last night's event, I ordered pasta and grilled vegetables for 16 people (for a 30-40 person event), plus salads and bread, plus an order of chicken sate skewers for those who wanted meat.  I highly recommend this approach when planning an event - rather than assuming everyone is a carnivore, assume everyone will eat the vegetarian foods, and then add in enough meat to satisfy your meat eaters.  (If I had ordered a meat-based and a vegetarian pasta dish, we wouldn't have met our budget since there was a 10-person minimum for each dish.)
If you are not a vegetarian, and you are at an event where the vegetarian population has not been properly served (i.e. there is a small platter of side veggie things next to a lot of meat), please, remember the vegetarians and take only a small (or no) serving of the vegetarian dish.  We appreciate it!

Monday, April 12, 2010

Recipe Cards

I've recently been invited to a few bridal showers.  In the envelope with the invitation came an index card for me to write down a favorite recipe and bring to the shower.

Oooooh, you're thinking.  What a nice idea.  It's really not.  Mostly because my recipes do not fit on an index card, and also I would much rather just hit print.  Being aware that most people do not archive all of their recipes on a personal cooking blog though, I will admit that many people's recipes are in a cookbook or on their own cards.  Still, wouldn't these just be easiest to make a copy of and bring with you, instead of transcribing?  So I digress, and should explain that I think that recipe cards are a poor way to store information.  They are small, and easily lit on fire. 

You know what is a great way?  The 3-ring recipe binder.  You can go fancy, or you can get a 3-ring binder and a bunch of sheet protectors.  That way, you can print, copy, or handwrite a recipe into the binder.  That way I don't have to rewrite a recipe into a teensy-tiny index card and constantly mess up, cross things out, and confuse the reader.  One shower I went to asked me to just bring a recipe on an 8.5x11 sheet of paper, and then we put them in sheet protectors at the shower.  It was very nice.  And way easier.

So if you are currently planning a shower, a recipe binder makes a great gift, and just ask the guests to bring a recipe to go in it.  Or send out a recipe card, with wide lines and a lot of room to write! (And don't write "Recipe for" at the top, because some moron will write in the bride's name and not what the actual recipe is for!  They will do this in pen, and feel like a doofus.)

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Spinach-Artichoke Quiche

I made quiche for Easter last weekend - I picked it because it was easy to make it, and doesn't need to be kept warm.  I used pre-made crusts, but if you're ambitious, you can make your own.  I actually filled two crusts and just added extra cheese.
  • 1/2 bag frozen spinach
  • 1 can of artichokes, drained and minced
  • 5 eggs (or any combination of egg whites and yolks that adds up to 5 eggs)
  • 1/2 cup of milk (a lot of recipes call for heavy cream, but that's really not necessary)
  • 1 bag of cheddar cheese (or parmesean)
  • salt, pepper, garlic powder
  1. Preheat oven to 425. 
  2. Saute spinach until thaw and cooked.  Add artichokes to the pan, and season with salt, pepper, garlic powder. 
  3. Put in a bowl and add the eggs.  Mix together, either with a spoon or an electric mixer.  
  4. Line the bottom of the crust with cheese.  Pour in egg mixture.  Top with more cheese.  
  5. Bake at 425 for 20 minutes.  
  6. Lower oven temperature to 350 and bake for an additional 30 minutes. 
Quiche is a great vegetarian party dish, and never fails to impress people, particularly topped with cheese.  Quiche also isn't nearly as bad for you as everyone says - particularly if you omit the cream, and maybe leave out a few egg yolks. 

Friday, April 9, 2010

Chili Cook Off

We had a chili cook off at school this week and I made seitan chili, which is delicious and almost won for best veggie chili. 

I had the following conversation with the event organizer:
"Doesn't seitan have peanuts in it?  Should we be concerned about allergies?"-Organizer
"If I had a serious food allergy, I probably wouldn't eat anything some stranger brought in a crockpot.  Also, Seitan is wheat-based...and it's just wheat and wheat germ, I think....I really don't think it has nuts." -Me
"I really thought it had nuts...wait, what is that stuff on a skewer called?" -Him
"Satay?" -Me
"Yes! That's what I'm thinking of." - Him
"That has nuts.  Also chicken.  So it's probably not vegan." -Me

How do you make veggie chili?  Really, you need a recipe?  Okay, here's the recipe.  Get some cans of beans, some tomato paste, some cans of diced tomatos, a whole lotta chili powder, some seitan, and some peppers.  Maybe some chipotles in adobo.  Some onions and garlic.  Saute those and the pepper, then throw everything in a crockpot and cook until delicious.