The Bored Chef

(SURPRISE! A new layout that a little lighter on the eyes.)

Due to my unemployment, cooking has been high on my list of boredom-breaking hobbies.

I know I should be saving as much money as possible, but I figure that I need something to keep me from wanting to just sleep all day. Plus, I have been very good and have been shopping for only on sale items (and saved 60% on my fresh produce yesterday!). So here are a few of the recipes I have made over the past several days:

Fresh Summer Salad

This salad was born out of a few fresh ingredients I needed to use in a hurry, and the abnormally hot days that we have experienced here in Colorado. I wanted something fresh, cool, and quick. This was the perfect fix. I used a hand peeler to shred the veggies, but I am fairly certain a shredding blade on a food processor would work just as well (I’ll let you know when I get my food processor… Don’t worry, economic majors, I used a gift card). Here is the unofficial “recipe”:

1/4 zucchini, shredded

1/4 yellow squash, shredded

1 small carrots, shredded

1/4 cucumber, shredded or sliced thin

1/4 cup sauerkraut

2 roma tomatoes, chopped

2 leaves fresh kale, chopped (can also use spinach)

1 Tbs Veganaise or Nayonaise

fresh grind pepper

pinch of salt

lemon juice

Mix the zucchini, squash, carrots, cucumber, sauerkraut, and tomatoes in a large bowl. Add pepper and salt to taste. Mix well. In another bowl, add rinsed and chopped kale (or spinach), Veganaise, and a squirt of lemon juice. Mix well to coat the kale leaves. Add the mixed vegetables and enjoy this summery salad!

NOTE: if using kale, allow for the dressed leaves to sit for about 5 minutes to begin to soften the tougher leaf. If using spinach, immediately add the mixed vegetables to the dressed leaves and enjoy.

Polenta with Asparagus and Chickpeas

This is a recipe that I borrowed from SusanV… but I made a lot of changes to it due to my lack of ingredients (and funds). Click on her link to find her recipe. Here is my “abridged version”:

Polenta

2/3 cup pre-made garlic and basil polenta

1/4 cup vegetable broth

.

Chickpeas

1/4 medium onion, chopped fine

1 glove minced garlic

1 can chickpeas (or 1 1/2 cups cooked)

1/4 cup vegetable broth

dash of  fresh pepper

dash of salt

1 tsp. lemon juice

.

Asparagus

5 stalks fresh asparagus

pinch of salt

dash of fresh pepper

Place the polenta in a small pot, turn heat to medium, add vegetable broth, and mash the polenta into a desirable smooth consistency. This may take a while, so allow it to gently simmer while preparing the rest of the ingredients.

In a larger pan  on medium-high, spray with cooking spray, add onions and garlic, and saute until soft and semi-translucent. Add chickpeas, vegetable broth. Stir and simmer over medium-high heat for about 10 minutes or until most of the broth has boiled down. Remove from heat and add pepper, salt, and lemon to taste.

Gently steam the asparagus for about 4 minutes. Toss lightly with salt and pepper.

Assemble the polenta on the bottom, chickpeas next, and asparagus on the top. Enjoy! Yum!

The third and final recipe for today…. will wait until next time. This post has been long enough. BUT… just know that the next recipe will be delicious PUMPKIN CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES! They even have a low fat option if you so wish.

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10 June 2010. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , . Food and Recipes. Leave a comment.

Hollandaise is a Do!

Continuing  my  cooking  craze  for  2010,  I decided  to  make  poached  eggs and asparagus with homemade hollandaise sauce.  I was a bit  timid to try this one (both for fear of mistakes, and fear of calories), but in the end, it was definitely worth every artery clogging bite!

To begin, the Ingredients List:

3 eggs (very cold)

3 tsp Salt + a couple pinches

1/4 cup white wine vinegar

1 tbs extra virgin Olive Oil

5-6 stalks of Asparagus

4 egg yolks

1 tbs fresh squeezed lemon juice

1/2 cup unsalted butter (melted)

a pinch of cayenne pepper

tarragon for garnish

————————————————

Start by heating up 2 liters  (about 9 cups)  of water into a sauce pan that allows for at least 3 inches of depth. Add the white wine vinegar and 3 tsp of salt to the water. Bring to a slow boil and then turn heat down so that you have a low simmer. Take the 3 whole eggs and, one at a time, crack them into a very small bowl (I used a measuring cup) and carefully lower them into the pot of water, emptying the eggs from the bowl/cup.

To make sure the little guys don’t get stuck to the bottom, use a spatula  to gently move underneath the eggs after 30-45 seconds of cooking. After the 3 eggs are in and unstuck, begin a timer. For soft boiled eggs, cook for 3 minutes. For medium boiled eggs, 5-6 minutes. I like my eggs hard boiled so I left them in for about 8 minutes. When the eggs are done, remove them one at a time (once again, carefully) from the water to a paper towel to drain. They should look like this:

Now it is time to start the asparagus. In a medium skillet,  pour in about 1 tbs of olive oil. Heat to about medium temperature. Wash the asparagus, cut off any of the stem that is too white and/or hardened, and cut each stalk in half. Add to the skillet.

Toss these occasionally, but no need to fuss too much.  These  will simply saute while you are preparing the hollandaise sauce.

Now it’s really time to start cooking. Begin by preparing a double boiler using a stainless steel sauce pot for the top. The water should be just barely simmering. It is better that you begin this too cool than too hot.

With all ingredients prepared and at hand,  begin the sauce by adding the 4 egg yolks to the small sauce pan (I improvised…). Add the lemon juice and whisk, whisk, whisk away for about 4 minutes or until the mixture gets a bit thicker and doubles in size.

Put the pot onto the double boiler but make sure that the water is NOT touching the sauce pot. Keep whisking for about a minute. Now is the time to slowly(!) add in the melted butter. A bit at a time works well. Whisk it into submission bit by bit! You will most likely be tired by the end of all of this, but just keep whisking. in about 8-10 minutes, the sauce will begin to thicken and become an amazingly gooey, rich texture and color.

When it reaches this stage,  remove it from the heat and add a pinch of salt and a pinch of cayenne pepper. Honestly, I wasn’t in a spicy mood so I just added a bit of fresh tarragon in place of the pepper. It was delicious as well. Note: if the sauce happened to get a wee bit too gooey, just add a drop or two of warm water, and whisk again until even in consistency.

Now it’s time to eat.   Toss those asparagus another time or two so they are nice and glossy and warm, and add them to your plate of choice. Place the poached eggs on top of the asparagus and drizzle (or pour, as I did) the hollandaise sauce over the pair. Garnish with a leaf of tarragon.

Honestly, this was the first time I have ever made (or eaten) poached  eggs. The same can be said of the sauce. It was worth the time and effort. The creaminess of this recipe alongside the crunch of the asparagus makes for a perfect (and filling) out of the ordinary meal.

16 February 2010. Tags: , , , , , . Food and Recipes. Leave a comment.