August 25, 2010

Saturday Morning Links!

Christmas burrito from Andele's

An interesting interview of Blake Butler about food, the body, and writing at We Who Are About To Die.

And this, a poem by Charles Simic, a favorite poet of mine. "I want to drown you in red wine like a pear." was my facebook status, a slight tweak on his line, and Carrie got really sketched out by it.

One For IHOP

We haven't really made a dessert here at MFE, and this isn't really one either, unless you put ice cream on it. This is an attempt at a dessert quesadilla, but it turned into something like Mexican Crêpes. That is actually catchy, I'll call it that.

Mexican Crêpes
Dessert Quesadillas
(serves 2-4)

4 tortillas
6-8 medium sized strawberries, thinly sliced
2 tbsp ricotta cheese
2 tbsp cream cheese
2 tsp sugar
chocolate chips
powdered sugar

In a small bowl combine the cream cheese, the ricotta cheese and the sugar. Spread this mixture on just over half of each of the four tortillas. Cover that same half with the sliced strawberries and chocolate chips. Generously butter a pan on medium heat. When the butter begins to sizzle, add your first tortilla that's been smothered. After about one and one half minutes, fold the side without the cheese mixture onto the side with the cheese mixture. It's important to do it in that order because the toppings can easily slide off the tortilla and into your pan, making it less delicious. After about another minute and a half, flip the currently-half-moon-shaped tortilla over. Continue cooking the quesadilla until it's the desired color. Remove from the pan and add powdered sugar and sliced strawberries for a garnish.

August 22, 2010

Snacks & Links

Poetry Digest is a journal that publishes poems on cakes and cupcakes. Check out their past "issues," and submit by September 30th.

image from Poetry Digest

I love Ruth Reichl's (former editor of Gourmet) Twitter. Her tweets are highly poetic (almost to the point of ridiculousness) little culinary tidbits....a sample, from August 21st: Chilly morning; summer ebbing away. Last night's peach pie, fragile and fragrant on this bright morning. Each bite a tiny farewell.  Kind of over-the-top but pretty, right? I think her tweets are exaggerated in a totally good way; I really enjoy her own enjoyment of her meals and her surroundings.

Literary Food Porn is a blog that features "delicious descriptions of food from literature." It hasn't been updated in a while, but it's still cool to look at the excerpts they've posted, including two from Laura Ingalls Wilder (a personal favorite of mine since childhood. I'm still discovering ways that the Little House series contributed to the development of my psyche).

As the semester begins and I find myself having to stay on campus far into the evenings, I'm thinking about what I can eat to keep going. A packed lunch is pretty standard for me, but I also try to bring snacks that will tide me over during a 2.5 hour class or a long stretch of office hours. I try to eat healthy snacks, and when I'm at home I eat a lot of string cheese, greek yogurt, almonds, avocado spread on toast, granola bars, frozen grapes, etc.

I'm trying to think of more nutritious, portable (aka non-refrigerated aka non utensil-requiring) snacks I can keep in my bag so I don't have to resort to chips or pretzels from the vending machine or the campus store. Got any ideas? What do you eat as a mid-morning or mid-afternoon snack?

August 19, 2010

Because Cute Babies Are So Hot Right Now

So I saw this video of a baby reciting Tennyson today on Jezebel, which Carrie had originally shared on her Google Reader, and I proceded to watch it over and over again. It seemed like the mom was a little torturous, but whose parents weren't a little overbearing? It also got me thinking about how cute babies eating are and I quickly discovered more torturous behavior from parents. Enjoy.

August 5, 2010

I Cook To Trick Myself Into Thinking I'm Productive

I feel a really large (probably outsize) sense of accomplishment when I make a good meal, even when I haven't accomplished much else that day. I have been ostensibly working on my MFA thesis for the past few weeks, but after a few hours of writing (and websurfing...) at the coffeeshop, a nap, and various errands, it's hard to look back at the day and feel like I've gotten much of anything done, you know? I'm unemployed this summer and don't really have anywhere to be or anyone to hold me accountable for how I spend my time, which is something I'm quickly realizing is not the most productive way for me to work. So I've been trying to least create decent dinners, so that the pile of dishes in my kitchen sink is a concrete reminder that I've done something each day, at least as opposed to the myriad of Microsoft Word windows I've had open for the past 5 days.

Two dinners I made this week to convince myself of my productivity:

- Chili, Lemon and Basil Shrimp---quick, easy, spicy, good. I didn't bother with the lemon zest, just substituted a splash of lemon juice. I also used couscous from a box. I think it would also be good with white or brown rice.

- Five-Minute Tomato Pasta--- an awesome way to utilize fresh summer tomatoes, literally takes 5 minutes, ridiculously easy for the deliciousness it produces, lasts well in the fridge, and very cheap. I used quinoa pasta for more protein, but you can easily use dollar-store spaghetti, if that's all you've got; I also used spinach instead of arugula. And the recipe is written in a mildly amusing way, at least by recipe-writing standards.

Anyone else use cooking to convince themselves they've accomplished something? I know it's pathetic; I also know I'm going to be missing these long, hot, lazy(ish) days when I'm trying to frantically grade 27 student papers, complete my reading for my own classes, revise upwards of forty poems and eat something other than frozen taquitos once the semester gets going.

this doesn't really have anything to do with this post, other than it's the gorgeous new mexican sky
 I attempt to work under every day

On a different note, we've just been added to the Foodie Blogroll, check out the widget to the right!

August 2, 2010

Baked Eggs

I recently moved, and my new apartment has a teeny tiny refrigerator. Like, teeny tiny--a glorified mini-fridge, in my opinion. Barely room for a Brita filter, some yogurt containers and some vegetables, forget about beer, wine or condiments. I'm trying to get a new one, but in the process, I haven't been able to keep very much food around. I've been hanging around the house today, not doing much, not eating much (because there's not much available), and when I opened the tiny fridge to think of what to make for lunch, the first thing I saw was my dwindling container of eggs.

If you read this blog regularly, you might have realized I'm a pretty big proponent of eggs. I've made baked eggs a few times before, usually when I want some protein/something slightly substantial in my meal but am too lazy to prepare meat. They're super-cheap, easy, relatively quick, and highly customizable. Basically, you just bake an egg until the white sets. Today I made mine with some slices of tomato and a sprinkle of dried basil; I also made it in the toaster over (lazy again, but definitely easy). Here is how I prepared mine this afternoon, although I think baked eggs are really a good, quick, little meal for any time of day:

Baked Eggs
total time: approx 15 min
total hands-on time: approx 4 min

What you need:
eggs (as many as you want, but no more than 2 in a ramekin)
olive oil or butter
1-2 slices of tomato
whatever seasoning you like
a ramekin or small oven-safe bowl

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
2. Oil the ramekin or bowl with butter or olive oil (or even PAM spray)
3. Place tomato slice in bottom of ramekin, sprinkle on seasoning.

4. Break egg into ramekin, on top of tomato.

5. Bake for 10-15 minutes (I did 13, but keep checking throughout), until the egg is set.
6. Add salt and pepper to your liking. I also added some parmesan and breadcrumbs (after I took the picture, though).

my two baked eggs, which I ate with toast and a salad
Julia Child recommends using cream in the bottom of the ramekin for baked eggs, but I haven't tried that yet. Mark Bittman, in his in-my-opinion- every-single-person-who-likes-to-eat-food-should-have-this-cookbook* cookbook, says to take the eggs out a little bit before they're completely done, as the excess heat from the ramekin can continue to cook them. He also covered baked eggs in his column in 2007, which is accompanied by an amusing video. Bittman suggests using cooked spinach, chopped meat, herbs, or onions in the bottom of the ramekin. In the video, he uses some big basil leaves that look delicious; I think baked eggs would also be great with fresh dill or tarragon, or maybe with cilantro and a little bit of salsa.

*Seriously, buy that cookbook. You won't be sorry.


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