You are currently browsing the monthly archive for May 2009.
I don’t know what got into me this weekend but I baked not one, not two, but THREE things on Sunday. And I made sushi. But all that will come later.
First, I promised and now I finally presenteth to you BAGELS!! Have you ever really had a hot-from-the-oven bagel? It puts those sad grocery store bagels (and most deli bagels) to shame. Chewy on the outside, tender on the inside…this is one food that I think may well be worth the effort to make instead of buy. And when the ingredients are flour (albeit the elusive bread flour), yeast, water, salt, oil, and sugar, they couldn’t be cheaper.
As a yeast-phobe, I am amazed these turned out well, and I think I may be ready to tackle more breads. Thanks to The Internet Food Association’s Ben Miller for providing the reassurance that not having a stand mixer doesn’t mean you can’t make bagels. Here’s his post on these same bagels, which will provide you with all the instruction you need: Homemade Bagels
And, because Brian had to go to work yesterday (Sunday!) I made him his favorite: bacon, egg and cheese. Behold!
The way I judge a sushi restaurant is by the quality of their Chirashi bowl. Anyone can slather some mediocre fish in spicy mayo and roll it up and top it with some tempura flakes and call it sushi, but if all you’ve got is your sticky rice, the quality of your fish, and maybe a shiso leaf (yes, it’s edible) and some tamagoyaki (that block of sweet egg), your ingredients have to speak for themselves.
I guess I just love a big bowl of rice with stuff on top, and the ability to eat what I want in the order I want to, and oh yeah, I love rice. I used to just eat green salads with a big heaping spoonful of hot brown rice on top, with dressing over the whole thing. Delicious. So when I came across this recipe for a Sushi Bowl, I thought “duh” in my head. Why don’t I make rice bowls of my own more often, or at all?? Who said you need 20 years of sushi chef training and a giant knife and super fresh fish to make a rice bowl?
I made Heidi Swanson’s recipe pretty much as-is (except for my chunkier tofu sticks, and lack of sesame seeds), so check out the link above for the details. I have to say I thought the dressing for the rice was a bit overpoweringly citrus, although Brian really liked it — I think next time I’ll stick more closely to a traditional sticky rice, and play a bit more with the toppings. Obviously you could add cooked or raw fish here, or shrimp, or chicken, or whatever. But I did like the purity of these ingredients, the buttery avocado, the crispy nori, the meaty tofu, and the onioney scallions. You feel good while eating it, and you feel good afterward.
I will say that you should check out the wonderful world of rices, whether in bowl form or not — I used a combination of rice I found (one of those overly expensive packaged fancy rice bags, forgive me!) with red rice, black rice, short grain brown rice…it was so nutty and flavorful. White rice has its place, but brown rice will always remind me of my somewhat crunchy granola upbringing. I’m thankful every day it made me love wheat bread and brown rice, no matter how mad I was at the time!
This may be a perfect meal. Quesadillas = Mexican grilled cheese. Beans = cheap and tasty and filling. Pineapple salsa = sweet and spicy and kind of fancy-looking but also super easy to make.
I don’t think I need to go into how to make quesadillas, it’s just 2 tortillas filled with cheese (and in this case, leftover chicken) and then cooked in a pan until melty and crispy and delicious. Pretty much the same goes for the beans. I just took one large can of beans (a 28-ouncer) and drained most of the liquid but not all, cooked up some onions and jalapeno and bell pepper, added the beans, threw in some chili powder and cayenne pepper and salt, and let them simmer until the flavors all melded together.
The salsa is just as easy, but I will actually provide a recipe for that part, since it may not be every day that you find yourself making a salsa, and possibly never that you find yourself making one with pineapple. This particular salsa would also be amazing on fish, pork, or chicken — it’s super versatile, so make a bunch and eat it with different main dishes over a few days. That will justify the probably slightly steeper price tag for the pineapple (my little one was $3, but I go to the cheapest fruit & veggie place ever).
You know, at a certain level (actually, it’s kind of the primary level), the slow food or even health food movements come down to access. If you live in an area without reliable fresh fruits and vegetables, or if you have to do most of your shopping at a deli or similarly outfitted grocery store, I really truly understand how it is impossible to make the choices Alice Waters wants you to make.
This is an overly complicated way of explaining why I did not make bagels this weekend as promised.
I had every intention of going home after the gym on Sunday and spending the afternoon boiling and baking some delicious poppyseed bagels. I had the proper yeast, I’d even bought the poppyseeds. And then I couldn’t find bread flour anywhere. I realize this is a petty complaint, because I could have walked to another grocery store further away and looked for it there. But it was raining. And I was tired and sweaty. I only bring it up because it reinforces the fact that good intentions only take you so far, and if you are lacking the proper supplies, you just can’t cook the way you want to.
So my obnoxiously privileged self will have to battle the lines at Whole Foods this week to procure said bread flour and THEN I will make bagels and they will be good, I promise.
Sorry I’ve been so MIA this week, but check out my new post on Thrifty Gourmet!
Also this weekend I plan on making my own bagels, so stay tuned!