Slow Cooker Gumbo

April 6, 2012 § Leave a comment

E: We figured it was time that Nombudsman did a gumbo, so here it is. I know very little about gumbo, and so I do not expect this is the best recipe out there. (If you have a favorite recipe, please let us know!) However it passed our test, so with some adjustment of the spices to your liking it should at least be good, on the road to fantastic. It also makes a lot if you follow the amounts shown here. I mean a lot. We got 3-4 dinners for two out of the total amount, plus there is still a little in the freezer.

as you can see, this was what the cornbread went with

The overall process is quite easy, in part because of the slow cooker. I think the gumbo would have had deeper, more developed flavors if we had cooked the onions, peppers and celery in some oil first, and gotten some nice color on them. But then it wouldn’t have been such a hands-off process.

I should note that we didn’t use any seafood or seafood stock in this, so it would be good for people who don’t like those things. The only meat we added was a couple chicken andouille sausages, which honestly were a) an unknown, impulse purchase, b) not the best as they were pre-cooked and a bit rubbery and therefore c) were not a big component of the dish’s flavor. On the plus side, that means you could do this as a vegetarian recipe without any loss at all. And if you are going to use andouille, for goodness’ sake don’t make our mistake, and get some better sausages.

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The Veggie-Lover’s Quiche

March 5, 2012 § 2 Comments

J: A couple years back, Erik introduced me to the versatility of the simple quiche.  Of course, I had eaten (and loved!) quiche before, but I suppose it never really occurred to me just how much fun you can have playing with different ingredients and flavors to make a breakfast quiche, dinner quiche, or maybe even dessert quiche if you wanted. (Also, as a side note, quiche is a really fun word.  I always want to pronounce it “kweesh” just for the lulz.)

Anyway, while we were home for the holidays this year, for one of our big meals we decided a quiche would be a perfect side-dish.  And, to have some semblance of being healthy, we decided to add a ton of vegetables to it.  That totally cancels out all the eggs and milk that go into it, right?  …right?

look at all that green!

We decided to make the crust from scratch using a simple pie dough recipe from Joy of Cooking, mostly because I will take any and every opportunity to play with dough, but if you are not so zealous about that — or simply don’t have time — you can do a simple pat-in-the-pan crust or of course buy a premade crust if you like.

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Southwest Veggie Burgers

February 24, 2012 § 4 Comments

J: While Erik and I do enjoy a good meat-burger every now and then, we are both trying to eat more vegetarian, for the health benefits as well as for the expense.  So, when we want to make burgers, we often turn to veggie burger recipes instead to get our fix.  This burger recipe is one we came up with, inspired by the ingredient list on a box of MorningStar Farms southwest veggie burgers.  We loved the burgers so much, looked at the ingredient list, and realized, hey — there’s nothing crazy in here.  We could make these!  So, we did.

with all the fixins!

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Simple Authentic* Dal

February 19, 2012 § 1 Comment

E: Now before anyone jumps down my throat here, let me clarify that title:  this was authentic. I got the recipe from my good friend Aditya by watching him prepare it a few times for dinner parties when we were in college. I wrote down what I saw, and may have adapted for one or two things that are difficult to find, but I would say this is 80-90% faithful to the original. Hopefully, Aditya himself will be reading this (I know you do check this blog from time-to-time) and can chime in if I’ve erred somewhere.

the garnish of chives is something of our own invention

Authenticity concerns aside, this recipe and I have a long and important history, and so I’m really happy to finally have taken pictures of the process so I can share them with all of you. This is the recipe that got me into cooking. When I tasted this the first time, I couldn’t believe how fantastic it was. And the process had seemed easy enough. So I learned to make it myself, and then promptly made it for everyone I could find. This was the “aha” moment for me, that interesting food could be healthy, tasty, and easily made at home.

Joanna and I have shared this dal many times. However, we often make it when we are tired and otherwise not looking to make an event of cooking. So we just haven’t gotten out a camera and photographed the process. But I picked up three recipes from Aditya during college (and I recently badgered him for some eggplant recipes that I hope to make and photograph sometime soon) and I really wanted to start getting them up on the blog. So here is the first of them. « Read the rest of this entry »

Quick Beans

February 1, 2012 § Leave a comment

E: I am a big fan of beans and Southwestern flavors. As a sometimes-vegetarian (and generally trying and succeeding to eat less meat than I used to, with a few minor setbacks like bacon here and there) I’ve been thoroughly wooed by the heartiness of beans and vegetables. This recipe owes a lot to Susan’s baked beans, with which it shares many of its ingredients. However this is something you can successfully make with any kind of beans in about 20 to 30 minutes, in basically any quantity you want.

quick, easy, healthy, and delicious

We make this or some variant quite often for lunches as well as dinners. I imagine it is a great way to use up any extra vegetables you have in the fridge. We always seem to have extra carrots, so that’s usually what we make this with. I’ll give you the basic amounts of things and you should play around with it to suit your liking. « Read the rest of this entry »

Sweet Potato Hash

December 29, 2011 § 3 Comments

E: We came up with this recipe shortly before Thanksgiving when we wanted something with lots of vegetables in it to counteract a week of irresponsibility with pasta and cheese. It was sufficiently good (and sufficiently seasonal) that when we went to visit my parents for Thanksgiving we made it again for them. It is a testament to how good it was that we didn’t change anything from one preparation to the next except for reducing the amount of pepper we use. I thought it was great, but it turns out that a whole Hungarian wax pepper was too much spice for Joanna, almost to the point of making the dish inedible. So you should really adjust this to your spice tolerance. If you don’t like spice at all, you can still make this just by omitting the pepper. I think the spiciness is a great counterpoint to the sweet potatoes and apples, but it would still be good without.

this is really delicious

Making this is really quite simple. It does take some time, but nothing here is really difficult. The instructions I’m going to give are for making it in stages, cooking ingredients and then removing them from the heat and cooking other ones. If you want to avoid that and do it all at once, just add the onions first until they soften, then add the sweet potatoes and cook until they are almost done, then add everything else and cook until done. « Read the rest of this entry »

Caramelized Onion Chicken Quesadillas

December 18, 2011 § Leave a comment

E: I love “Mexican” food. I really do. I put the term in quotes only because I’m not qualified to judge what is legitimately Mexican and what has been Americanized enough that it isn’t really fair to give it that name. In any case I wanted to make some quesadillas, and was trying to come up with something tasty to put in them. I remembered back to something my college friend David, his girlfriend Natalie, and I made once for a food co-op in college. It consisted of caramelized onions, roasted poblano peppers, and some sort of crème fraiche style dairy product, and I remember thinking how much it tasted like something I’d had in quesadilla form at a restaurant one time. So I decided to use it as inspiration—taking some liberties of course.

cut to reveal the deliciousness inside

I cut the sour cream / crème fraiche since that isn’t my favorite thing in the world. Joanna and I decided together that we would use green bell pepper instead of a poblano. And we also wanted to put some chicken in, so we added some garlic and mushrooms to go with that, and some fresh tomato to round it off. Made with homemade tortillas, these are really, really tasty. I’m going to go through the full instructions, in which we cooked the two fillings separately. But you could do them together if you want to speed things up. « Read the rest of this entry »

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