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.

Welcome to Italy.

     This phrase became the bane of our existence while in Italy. While riding from Switzerland to Venice, Italy via TrainItalia, the announcements followed this typical pattern:

3 minutes (of the Italian language) worth of telling where we were, what we were doing, what stops we were arriving at… and any other important information.

2 minutes of similar dialogue in French.

1 (German) minute of a shortened version of the French explanations.

In Engligh: “Welcome to Italy.”

     Due to this, we were highly unsure of were to get off the train, and we further confused by the hour long stop we made in the middle of nowhere. That hour plus the fact that the train was late to begin with left us unable to catch the connection train to Venice. We went to the service desk and quickly learned that the Italian customer service ethic is similar to their timeliness ethic: nonexistent. Eventually we made it into Venice, to our hostel (which was, surprisingly, amazing)… and found out our train had been delayed due to a minor incident–the derailment of another in front of us. 

    Italy was not bad, though it was nothing what I had expected. The calm, coolness, and the laid back stereotypes only applied in reference to time, it seemed. I learned a lot about the culture and a lot about the art of being stared at. 

 

The hour long train stop by a small village in the Italian countryside.

The hour long train stop by a small village in the Italian countryside.

 

 

I think these "street signs" were only for effect. Truth: We spent 75 per cent of our time attempting to find our way around the city. It's no wonder people call it a magical city of mazes that change every nightfall.

I think these "street signs" were only for effect. Truth: We spent 75 per cent of our time attempting to find our way around the city. It's no wonder people call it a magical city of mazes that change every nightfall. (Also note the adorable, fat posing dog in the window.)

 

Mariah and I in Venice

 

Staring down one of the Venetian roadways.

Staring down one of the Venetian roadways.

 

A beautiful detail of the world famous Palazzo del San Marco.

A beautiful detail of the world famous Palazzo del San Marco.

 

You cannot escape Venice without trying on at least one creepy mask.

You cannot escape Venice without trying on at least one creepy mask.

 

A dusky view of the magical city built on water.

A dusky view of the magical city built on water.

 

Early Italian architecture. My favorite art history era.

Early Italian architecture. My favorite art history era.

3 July 2009. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Europe, Hiking/Backpacking, travel. Leave a comment.

Away We Go…

What do you do with money you’ve been saving since you knew what saving money was? How about a grand backpacking adventure through the great continent of Europe? Sure, we only made it to 4 countries (five, I guess, if you count Vatican City as separate from Rome, but really, who does that?), but for two weeks, 4 was more than enough.  Because Mariah was in Europe already from a study abrpad program, I flew into Marsaille, France, took a bus to Aix-en-provence and thus began the roommate adventure. Mariah met me at the bus stop and took me on a short tour around her rainy “hometown” before we headed to her host partent’s house. (That was an adventure in itself as I speak no French, they speak no English… and they don’t see that as a reason not to talk to me… Words such as “tea” were a grand obstacle.) 

One of the beautiful gardens in Aix.

One of the beautiful gardens in Aix.

The ceiling of a church dedicated to Paul Cezanne. The University of Aix bears his name as well due to the fact that he painted much of his works in Aix (including his most famous, "Mont Saint Victoire"-- pictured below).)

The ceiling of a church dedicated to Paul Cezanne. The University of Aix bears his name as well due to the fact that he painted much of his works in Aix (including his most famous, "Mont Saint Victoire"-- pictured below).

 

 

Paul Cezanne, "Mont Saint-Victoire, 1904-1906, Oil on Canvas, Philadelphia Museum of Art.

Paul Cezanne, "Mont Saint-Victoire, 1904-1906, Oil on Canvas, Philadelphia Museum of Art.

 

The open air markets in Aix. Believe it or not, the food was even better than it looks...

The open air markets in Aix. Believe it or not, the food was even better than it looks...

 

This is the famous Rotunda Fountain. A little research revealed that it was built in 1860 and three statues represent Justice, Fine Arts, Agriculture- the main activities of the city.

This is the famous Rotunda Fountain. A little research revealed that it was built in 1860 and three statues at the top of the fountain represent Justice, Fine Arts, and Agriculture- the main activities of the city.

 

This marks the end of the first round of Aix. We returned to gather Mariah’s suitcases on the way back to the States, but for now… it’s on to the beautiful Switzerland!

24 June 2009. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Europe, Hiking/Backpacking, travel. 1 comment.