December 31, 2010

Favorite Recipes of 2010

Here is a quick round-up of my favorite recipes posted this year on Master of Fine Eats. We started the blog in February and it's been fun to work with over the course of the year. Robbie and I are both hard at work on our MFA theses right now, so sorry that posting hasn't been quite as frequent. We'll try to remedy that in 2011. Thanks for reading!

February: Mole Enchiladas
May: SAABLT Wrap (inspired by a book of poetry)
August: Baked Eggs
September: Green Chile Season (not exactly a recipe, but there are directions for roasting green chile)
December: Briami 

December 17, 2010

Favorite Food Blogs

Well, winter break has begun and I'm back in Baltimore for a few weeks. I cook a lot less when I'm at my family's house, so recipe posting might be light (not that it hasn't already been! Sorry!) so I thought I would share some of my favorite food blogs. I've got a couple on the sidebar over there, but I read quite a few more since the last time that was updated. I like all kinds of food blogs, so this is a sampling of some of the ones I read. Not all of them are focused on eating on a budget, but if that's your interest, you should be able to find some good ideas below:

$5 Dinner Mom is mainly geared towards families, but the blogger, Erin Chase, has some great coupons and good, easy, recipes for weeknights. She also has great step-by-step instructions on meal planning and freezing food in advance, which are helpful for anyone who wants to save money on food.

Cheap Healthy Good was one of the first food blogs I read. The recipes are always delicious and not-too-complicated, and the calorie counts and estimated cost of each are posted alongside. I love the "Veggie Might" feature, I love the reader question feature, and Kris is funny, too. A good quarter of the recipes bookmarked on my browser come from Cheap Healthy Good; I cook from this blog constantly.

I've mentioned 30 Bucks A Week several times before, and they're always good for cheap and healthy eating inspiration. It's written by a couple who lives in Brooklyn; they post their grocery receipts weekly, so you know they're really spending $30 a week on food. I know I spend more than that and I'm only one person, so the blog always gets me thinking about what I'm eating and where my money is going.

The Pioneer Woman Cooks always has mouthwatering step-by-step photographs, which is really helpful if you're wondering what your meal should look like at every stage of cooking. Don't go here if you're looking for healthy food, though--Ree's style is much more comfort food, a lot of sweets, pastas, stuff like that. The photographs make every single thing look AMAZING however, so definitely don't go to The Pioneer Woman unless you've just eaten an incredibly satisfying meal.

The Kitchn is more of an aggregator of links and topics related to food. It's part of Apartment Therapy, and the editors post interesting stuff all day long, like where to find the best kitchen decor and what to make with radishes. They also have "theme" weeks, where much of the content is devoted to a specific topic: I really enjoyed "Holiday Cookie" week, where I found this recipe for honey-spice cookies.

Smitten Kitchen is one of the most famous (and deservedly so) food blogs. Great recipes, gorgeous pictures, and Deb has a cute baby.

Fab Frugal Food has, obviously, an emphasis on frugal recipes. Their recipes are never boring or pedestrian, though, which I appreciate as cook on a budget. I love their "Meatless Monday" feature.

Honest Fare is a beautifully-designed and well-written blog. It features a lot of versatility in terms of recipes, which I like. The Candy Apple cupcakes from October look incredible!

December 13, 2010

Briami: Roasted Vegetable Casserole

This is really delicious Greek dish I ate when I was babysitting the other day. I loved it so much I left the house of the family I was babysitting for and went right to the grocery store to buy the ingredients to make my own. There were a myriad of recipes for briami online, but none of them seemed close to what I had just eaten, so I kind of made up my own version, adding the tofu for extra bulk and protein. You can easily omit the tofu if tofu is not your thing.

hands on time: as long as it takes you to chop a bunch of vegetables
total time: about an hour and a half

2 zucchini
1 small eggplant
2 small potatoes
2-6 tomatoes, depending on size (I had small ones and ended up using like 5)
1 block (package) of extra firm tofu
italian seasoning
olive oil

1. Preheat oven to 350, grease baking dish.
2. Slice the tofu into bite-sized blocks. I marinated it in some Italian dressing for a little bit (30 minutes?), but I think salt and pepper would be fine as well.

3. Slice all of the vegetables very thinly lengthwise (see pictures).
4. Layer vegetables and tofu in oblong glass baking dish; the order you layer them in is up to you, but I went with eggplant, zucchini, potato, tofu, eggplant, tomato. I think it would work well to distribute the tofu throughout the layers, as well.

5. Be sure to generously drizzle olive oil over each layer. I also used a sprinkling of Italian seasoning (basil, oregano, red pepper flakes, etc) over the layers.

check out the tofu peeking out from under the eggplant

6. Bake for 30 min at 350.
7. Take the briami out of the oven and liberally sprinkle bread crumbs on it, until vegetables are covered.

8. Bake for another 30-45 minutes. The idea is to really roast the hell out of this, so that the vegetable layers kind of melt and collapse into one another.

I am an incredibly lazy chopper/slicer of vegetables, so this probably would have turned out better had I spent a bit more time making the layers even and thin. I ended up slicing too much eggplant and that's why there are two eggplant layers, something I don't recommend. I do, however, recommend having  two tomato layers, so you may have to amend this recipe to include even more tomatoes.

This was a bit dry right out of the oven, but the flavors really begin to meld and develop over time, i.e. overnight. It keeps really well in the fridge and is perfect to heat up for a hearty winter lunch. I ate it for dinner sprinkled with parmesan and then for lunch the next day sprinkled with feta. 

December 3, 2010

What Should I Cook For My Class' "Breakfast Party?"

The class I'm teaching has its exam period on Monday from 8:00-10:00 am (I know, it's painful, especially for a Monday. The plus is that it's smack at the beginning of exam week and is forcing me to grade papers in a timely manner). My students and I decided to have a "breakfast party" while we finish up the last round of paper presentations. I told them I would make them something good, but I'm kind of at a loss as to what to make. I'm thinking some kind of oatmeal breakfast-bar-type thing or maybe mini quiches, but am open to suggestions.

What would you cook for breakfast for 24 tired and stressed freshman and sophomores? It needs to be easily portable!

*Addendum: I ended up making some cereal bars with rice krispies, raisins, brown sugar, flour, honey, and granola: basically mix and then bake for 20 minutes. They were just ok, but my students brought tons of good food, including doughnuts, Christmas cookies, and a 3/4 full jug of orange juice that had been used to make screwdrivers the night before.


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