April 28, 2010

Something To Do With A Can Of Sardines

So I've already discussed my love of sardines here. On the way to AWP I saw this amazing can of sardines at a tiny little grocery on the east side of Wolf Creek Pass. Not only is the design amazing (I'd never seen an upright can of sardines, this fish looks to be enjoying a swim through tomatoes and green chiles, there's a woman surfing, the five different fonts used without completely alienating me... I could go on and on) but spicy tomato sounded terrific. I bought two: one to eat and one to save forever. This is what I did with the can I ate.

Sardines on toast with rosemary butter

3 sprigs of rosemary
3 tablespoons of butter
2 pieces of bread
1 can of sardines
mustard and/or mayo is optional

Melt your butter your preferred butter melting method (microwave 45 seconds in my case). Mix in the rosemary and let it cool down some; it's just easier to spread when it's in that not-runny liquid phase, nor that solid cold phase. Liberally spread the butter on your bread and toast until it turns into the kind of toast you like. Cut the sardines in half along the spine that way they're thinner and can fit inside your mouth easier. Put the sardines on the toast and eat.

This is really cheap, especially since I have a rosemary bush outside. I think the grand total on this meal/snack was about $2.00 maybe $3.00. It was also really quick. If I wasn't taking pictures it would have taken me about five minutes (why isn't there a 'minute symbol', the way there is a 'dollar symbol'?).

April 24, 2010

Eggplant Mini Pizzas

People have strong feelings about eggplant, I've noticed. You either hate it or love it. I happen to love it in all forms, but I'm part Italian, so I'm probably biased. Eggplant is, however, a great vegetable to eat if you're on a budget. It has a strong, distinctive and meaty flavor, and adds a lot of bulk to different dishes, especially pasta. Today for lunch I made eggplant mini-pizzas, which are basically slices of eggplant topped with tomato sauce and cheese. They are significantly lower in calories and healthier than regular pizza (no pizza dough!), they taste great, and they're pretty damn cheap.

I think I paid $1.50 for the eggplant, which I used half of in this recipe. I estimate the total cost of this recipe to be about $2-$3.50; I am, however, a poet, so don't hold me to those numbers! A whole medium eggplant has about 132 calories, so these mini-pizzas are really healthy, too.

Eggplant Mini Pizzas
total time: 20 minutes
total hands on time: 6 minutes

What you need:
1 eggplant
5-6 tbsps of tomato sauce
shredded cheese
spices or other vegetables (optional)

1. Preheat oven or toaster oven to 425.
2. Horizontally slice the eggplant into 1/2 inch rounds. Here, I have 5 slices.

3. Brush each slice on both sides with olive oil.
4. Roast 6-8 minutes on each side, until slightly browned.
5. Top each slice with tomato sauce and cheese. You can also add spices; I added an Italian herb mix and red pepper flakes.
6. Bake until cheese is melted and bubbly.
7. Enjoy!

I read a recipe somewhere where the cook added tomato slices on top of the eggplant, which I think would be extra delicious. Depending on the size of the eggplant you get, you may also have room to actually add other pizza toppings, maybe fresh basil, bacon bits or pepperoni, whatever strikes your fancy. This would also be good if you used some fancier cheese, like goat or fresh parmesan. It just occurred to me that this recipe would work as a good little appetizer at a party, too; of course, you'd need quite a few more eggplants.

April 13, 2010

Roasted Tomatoes with Shrimp, Feta and Asparagus

Like a lot of people, I frequently decide what I'm going to cook for dinner based on what ingredients I need to use up. After a few days away at AWP in Denver, I had some aging feta cheese and a big bag of frozen shrimp. I found this awesome recipe at The Kitchn and decided to adapt it to my needs. I added asparagus, just to make it a little bit more filling.

Roasted Tomatoes with Shrimp, Feta and Asparagus (adapted from The Kitchn)
serves 2
total time: 40 min
hands on time: 5 min

2 large tomatoes, cut into eights
pinch of kosher salt
pinch of pepper
1/2 a bunch of asparagus, chopped roughly
1/2-3/4 bag of frozen shrimp (probably almost a pound)
herbs of your choosing
2 tbsps garlic
1 cup crumbled feta
2-3 glugs of olive oil

1. Preheat oven to 450.
2. Chop the tomatoes, mix with garlic, salt, pepper and olive oil in a baking dish. Roast for 20 minutes.
3. Meanwhile, chop the asparagus and defrost the shrimp.
4. After 20 min, stir in the shrimp and asparagus, as well as whatever herbs you'd like to add. I added freeze-dried basil because my kitchen herb terrarium hasn't quite taken off yet. Sprinkle feta on top.
5. Roast for another 10-15 minutes.
6. Eat!

I served this over crusty toasted bread with a small arugula salad. It tasted great and looked pretty, too! I'm always a fan of tasty recipes that have very little hands-on time; during the 35 minutes the dish was in the the oven, I graded papers and did dishes.

I'm thinking you could easily substitute fresh shrimp for frozen, or canned tomatoes for fresh in this recipe. I'm a big fan of keeping frozen shrimp around: it usually costs about $10 for a bag, and I can usually make 2-4 meals out of one bag. It cooks quickly and tastes good over rice or pasta, perfect for a fast, healthy meal on a weeknight.

April 12, 2010


So me and Carrie were in Denver all last week for AWP and we didn't get to cook food for
ourselves, but I took lots of pictures and have a recipe for a really good posole which I got from the Strater Hotel in Durango CO. I'll try it out and tell you how it goes.

Hot deluxe breakfast at Strater Hotel.

The posole.

A sandwich from ink! (this is the contadina).

Burritos made for me and Carrie at 3am (The host, while drunk, diced tomatoes for us).

Breakfast Pot-Pie from Snooze. I wish I had a picture of the cocktail we had ordered too. It was delicious.

April 3, 2010

Mexinese Tea Eggs: Chinese Tea Eggs With a Mexican Twist

I was really excited about Chinese Tea Eggs when I saw them on TasteSpotting. I thought they sounded delicious for the most part, but I love southwestern spiciness, so this is my variation/experiment. I sort of followed this recipe from a blog about eating in china which has some pretty good writing and stories to go along with the recipes. The pictures they have are amazing: like the best photography on a food blog I've seen, ever. EVER. The top image is their picture of chinese tea eggs. Compare that to my homely picture below.

I changed their recipe to use southwestern ingredients and add a southwestern flavor (hence the 'Mexi' in 'Mexinese').

Now, to start with, I don't know if it was worth the trouble or if I just didn't do this right,
but I didn't notice a significant difference in taste from a regular hard boiled egg. I think I did an okay job getting the color though. I'll give you the recipe I followed then tell you what I think I should do next time.

Mexinese Tea Eggs


4 tsp salsa
4 tsp salt
4 tsp paprika
2 tsp sugar
2 tsp cayenne pepper
2 tsp Tapatillo hot sauce
1 black tea bag

This recipe begins just like hard boiled eggs. Boil your eggs for 5 minutes then remove and cool them off. Next you'll crack the shells. I used a wooden spoon. after cracking the shells, you'll place them back into the pan of water and all your ingredients and bring it to a boil, then let it simmer for 1-3 hours, removing the tea bag after about 8-10 minutes (the longer it simmers, the more noticeable the colors and flavors become). After this it's just like any old hard boiled egg: peel the shell and put it in your mouth.

So some things that I think would help the next time I make this:

I'm not going to be scared to really smack that with my wooden spoon. The worse the eggs were cracked the better the color/flavor.

I'm going to triple all the spicy/salty ingredients. I was worried that it would be too hot, and I could barely taste any spicy/saltiness.

I'm going to simmer them for at least three hours. I want the colors and flavors to blow me away, not just surprise me a little.

So maybe you can adjust the recipe too? Send me some thoughts if you try it.

Also, does anybody know if Jesus saw his shadow when he came out of his cave? I think if he did that means there's six more weeks of Lent.


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