The Great Quinoa Caper

Sometimes a recipe doesn’t look like much. But if I need SOMETHING to go off of, some vague inspiration, anything will do. Recipes off the back of a Trader Joe’s box included. Last night I’m not proud to say it, but that’s exactly what I did. Realistically, I knew from the get-go that this was some crazy-ass cracked out version of reality where stir frys are related to quinoa and 2 cups of chicken broth disappear magically into a dish without consequence. But damn it, I wasn’t sure what else to cook. So I gave the Trader Joe’s recipe a whirl.

So how’d it turn out? PERFECTO! 2 thumbs up! Good enough for me to tell ya about here! But no, oh no. I won’t just reprint the bizzaro-world recipe they gave me. I’ll both share it for amusement and give you what worked for me below that. In the end, the saving grace of the whole meal (besides my fantastical ability to freestyle) was the shining beacon of heavenly fresh produce that made it work.

Garlic Chicken Stir Fry with Quinoa, Peppers and Basil (NO NO NO)

1 cup Trader Joe’s Organic Quinoa, prepared with chicken stock according to package directions
2 cups Chicken Broth
1 1/2 pounds skinless chicken breast tenders
4 Tablespoons garlic flavored oil oil
1 small onion, thinly sliced
1 red bell pepper, seeded and thinly sliced
1 yellow bell pepper, seeded and thinly sliced
5 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
20 cleaves fresh sweet basil, julienne
Grated Parmesan cheese
salt and pepper to taste

Cut chicken into one-inch pieces. Heat large nonstick skillet over high heat and add the oil. Add chicken and saute for 5 minutes or until golden brown. Add onions, bell peppers; saute for one or two more minutes; add garlic and saute until peppers become slightly limp, but still bright, about one to two minutes; season with sale and pper. Remove the pan from heat; add basil and quinoa. Toss until basil wilts; garnish with parmesan cheese. Serves four

Um, what???

Now you might ask yourself, “Wait a second, I made the quinoa using chicken stock like the directions on the side of the box but wait, I just used 2 cups chicken broth so is that the same thing, why would they list it again? And basil… julienned?? Don’t they mean chiffonade? Why does Parmesan cheese not sound like an appetizing topping?? WHAT THE FUCK IS GOING ON?? THIS RECIPE IS THINLY SLICED.

But don’t get yer panties in a bundle, I fixed it. But first you should know that we roasted a chicken Zuni-style the night before, so instead of cooking the raw chicken, I modified the recipe to re-heat slices of my cold, pre-cooked roast chicken. Here, this is the good recipe. I call this one…

Quinoa with Chicken, Peppers and Basil (YES YES YES)

1 cup Trader Joe’s Organic Quinoa
2 cups + 2 tablespoons chicken broth
1  pound skinless and boneless roast chicken, in chunks
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 small onion, thinly sliced
1 red bell pepper, seeded and thinly sliced
1 yellow bell pepper, seeded and thinly sliced
6 cloves garlic, diced
20 cleaves fresh sweet basil, julienne
salt and pepper to taste

Place quinoa and 2 cups chicken broth in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce to simmer, cover and cook until all water is absorbed (10-15 minutes). The grain will be soft and translucent when done. Heat a cast-iron skillet and add the oil. Add onions, bell peppers; saute for one minute; add garlic, sliced chicken and saute another minute. Lower the heat; add the cooked quinoa, 2 tablespoons chicken broth; stir and cover with a lid. Cook a few more minutes until the peppers become slightly limp, but still bright. Remove the pan from heat; add basil; season with sale and pepper. Serves four… or two hungry bitches… just kidding, two will have leftovers

This Week’s Eatwell Box

It’s that time of the week! Wednesday means time for a delicious discovery.

So what did Eatwell put in our box for The Hipster Home? BEHOLD…

Tomatoes, poblano peppers, onions, summer squash, melon, basil, eggplant, grapes, sweet potatoes, bell peppers, arugula

Now that we’re swiftly moving from summer to fall, it’s great to be on the receiving end of seasonal change. What used to be heavily tomatoes and basil, is now the remaining basil plant stalks and only one (!!! ONE!) type of tomato. Now we’re starting with the hard squashes, green leafy bits and heartier veggies like sweet potatoes.

So what’s in the back log from last week?  All the onions were used to feed my yolky addiction and the grapes made the perfect daytime snack. The tomatillos and tomatoes were used in a dinner I’ll be posting about soon but I’ve still got the eggplant, parlsey, summer squash, Red Kori Squash, cucumbers, one bell pepper and potatoes. Eep. Don’t worry, it shant got to waste!

The good news is that tonight we used another onion, some bell peppers and basil in a recipe rehab gone right. Stay tuned tomorrow for THE GREAT QUINOA CAPER

I wwwant that!

Being an under-employed lady of leisure, several things suffer without making bank. Namely, purchasing power. Would I buy any of this if I did have a job? Eh, that’s besides the point because I’m pretty cheap. But please do join me in salivating over these tasty bits of internet commerce.


Let’s start with this old lover, the Jeffrey Campbell Neon Oxfords. Previously sold out, I stumbled upon them again tonight when I mainlined the NASTY GAL newsletter, I mean, their newsletter hit my inbox. Turns out they’re having a big sale! Go git yourself some size 0 vintage garb.

Picture 14

I like funny. I like this. Mr. Cold is a liquid soap dispenser. (GET IT?!?) He would look LOVELY in our bathroom and could grab coffee with our toilet monster. Thanks to Apartment Therapy for the post!

The Cherry Blossom Girl practically lives in her itty bitty heart tights. Too bad the Tabio website has such stark product pictures. I’d recommend checking out The Cherry Blossom Girl’s stylings if you want to see why I think these are super fantastic. Wwwant them. 10 pairs minimum.

Picture 15

For tonight’s totally-want-it-got-to-have-it craft project,  the fine people at The Wurst Gallery are to blame. In their Dishwasher Safe series, “each artist was sent 4 round pieces of paper that they could only use markers on, the pieces of paper were then processed into a 1 of a kind set of 4 plastic plates.” How’d they do that? Makit Plate kits! The finished products are plastic, totally usable and incredibly designed. Lori D made my favorites, but the rest are pretty spectacular as well. By all means, go check them ALL out but you better be pre-resigned to not buy any, because they’re all sold out! Hurrah Wurst.

Finally, I met Jonathan Adler! Hat tip to Making it Lovely since she posted that homeboy started making his lacquer bathroom set in hot pink for Barbie. Or some other nonsense like that. THE POINT IS Mr. Jonathan Adler makes whimsical, humorous, UNORDINARY and deliciously tacky home wares. Sign me up! So you can put all his awesome products in my giant internet shopping cart in the sky. That’s right, I JUST COVETED AN ENTIRE WEBSITE. Also: read the Jonathan Adler Manifesto, it’s a hoot.

Side note: Our library system has his book, My Prescription for Anti-Depressive Living, which I promptly requested and will read. Free works, bitches.

The Accidental Crawfish Boil

You can sum up the entire post below with a statement uttered between bites of sausage, crawfish and corn. “THIS is adventuring eating.”

Exiting a weekend in Lake Tahoe without getting in the water is criminal.  Late last Sunday afternoon, Cameron, Paige and I motivated ourselves to get outta the hammock and head to the beach for some quality lake time.

“I can show you where the hot spring is on the map but you’ll  never find it” said our talkative boat rental man, a dead ringer for Weird Al.

We took out two kayaks and the idea that we were absolutely going to prove this dude wrong. Following his directions, we looked for the old wall, and then the covering over the hot spring. We parked the kayaks on some rocks and monkeyed our way up the old wall to try and spot where the hot spring was meeting with the lake. We spotted it and again monkeyed over the rocks towards it. Carefully steadying ourselves over the mossy rocks, we dipped our toes in. HOT! We found it. Take that rental man! Victory.

After getting over the initial thrill of WARM WATER, we noticed some bright red little bodies upstream. Turns out some crawfish had themselves in hot water (baDUM chh!) and boiled themselves alive in the hot spring. Mmmm crawfish.

When we got back, Weird Al rental guy was talkative yet again. “Are there any good places to get crawfish around here?” Paige asked. “No, not really but you can catch ’em yourself.” BINGO!

A dozen questions later, we set off with the idea that we might wrangle up some crawfish. But we’re supposed to be heading back to San Francisco! A few calls later, we made a new plan and would stay the night but get up at the crack of dawn to head home.

Official!  We’re catching our dinner tonight! Please allow me to share with you the wisdom of Lake Tahoe’s Weird Al on crawfish fishing.

How to catch a crawfish in Lake Tahoe:

  • Go to Speedboat beach around sundown
  • Cut thyself up some bacon bait
  • Use a fishing pole or make yourself a fishing line, bobbin and hook concoction
  • Find a bucket or cooler for the catch, put a little bit of lake water in the bottom
  • Scramble over the first set of boulders connected to the beach by the sandbar on the far right
  • Spot yourself some crawfish in the bottom
  • Drop a baconhook into the water, setting it in front of a crawfish
  • Watch for them to attach it with their pincers and…
  • Drop your catch in the bucket, you can boink them off the line
  • Repeat til its too dark to see the little guys in the water

Technically we should’ve had a fishing license, but since we were next to the Nevada border, we could have jumped the state line where apparently the law is different about such things.

Marching back to the car victorious, we suddenly realized none of us knew how to do crawfish prep or cooking. Once home, google saved us and we figured out how to clean and boil the crawfish.

How to Prepare Crawfish:

  • In a bucket or deep bowl, barely cover the crawfish with water
  • Toss in 1/3 cup salt

(in retrospect, we’d seen other directions that said to let them soak for 15-30 minutes but Cameron found directions that had said stir around for three minutes, which is what we had decided since we we quite nervous about killing any crawfish. They ended up being pretty poopy, and since this is the part where the crawfish are supposed to become less so, we probably didn’t do it long enough. NOTED)

  • Stir gently around for 3 minutes and drain, rinse
  • Crawfish need air to survive, so put them in a colander until you’re ready for cookin’
  • Right before boiling time, put them in a bowl and fill it again with water. If any died, they’d float, RIP Crawfish! Take it out.  Lucky for us, no dice, all alive and kicking. But apparently you DO NOT want any pre-dead crawfish in your boil.

Crawfish Boil Recipe

preps for 3ish dozen crawfish, feed two ladies and a man

I believe that the What’s Cooking America dude was our inspiration, adapted to fit our needs

  • Fill a 12 quart  pot of water with strainer (looks below for the type of pot I’m talking about)
  • Add a buttload (or two-three good plamfuls) cajun seasoning, the juice of a lemon and the remaining rind
  • Bring to a boil
  • Add 5-6 cloves of garlic to the pot
  • Add 6 small whole new potatoes
  • Add a quartered onion
  • Cook until the veggies soften up
  • Add three ears of corn (snapped in half) to the pot
  • Add 4 mild sausages and 4 spicy sausages, quartered
  • Add the crawfish, making sure all are submerged
  • Simmer for 5 minutes
  • Put a lid on the top, turn the heat off and let sit undisturbed for 20 minutes.
  • Lift the strainer and drain the pot contents
  • Normally you’d lay that shit out on a big table covered in newspaper but since we didn’t have any newspaper we used a big tray with a few layers of paper towels and pour out the feast. Looks purtier anyways.

dig in.

I learned all sorts of things about crawfish with this one experience, like how to eat the little guys. You pinch the head away from the tail and twist.  Remove a few scales from the tail and pull the meat out. If yours are poopy like ours were, you’ll want to pull back a piece of the meat and remove the poo track.

The grey stuff? that’s tomalley. It’s the liver and tastes a lot like pate. Which means I wasn’t a fan. If you get one filled with little orange balls in the abdomen, it’s a female! And she was pregnant! If you’re like me, scrape the roe out and give them to someone who enjoys it.

Now for the best part: tilt the head up (gravity is your friend on this one) and suck on that little head. You aren’t supposed to get any meat but the juices you get from the head are DEEElicious. Obviously eat the tail meat too. And if you’ve got a bigguns, there is meat in the claw you can eat and some juice you can suck from the knuckles.

From the seat of our pants, we did it! All thanks to the spirit of advenutre that compelled us and the ever informative Lake Tahoe Weird Al, our crawfish boil was tasty and exciting and a great experience. It’s been over 8 hours, so I dare say, this experience was safe for my digestive track. It was the first time in my life that I’d said “Man, I”m glad I”m not allergic to shelfish.”

Not for the faint of heart, I’d recommend doing this with at least one person who doesn’t mind picking the crawfish up off the rocks if they don’t make it into the cooler. And at least one person with the culinary vision. And definitely three people with healty appetities. Like appetites from kayacking.

This Confession is No Yolk

Ya’ll, I’ve got a confession to make. I’m honestly about to blush. I’ve had the same thing for lunch three days running. THREE.

It wasn’t leftovers. It wasn’t something already made. I prepared myself the same lunch three days in a row. This was a choice. A decision. And I must live with knowing that now you all know my dirty little secret of the under employed. Cooking like this for yourself, whenever you want.

World, meet soba noodles with a fried egg on top.

It started unassumingly enough. While attempting to find something simple for lunch using soba noodles, which I adore, this glorious recipe popped up on The Kitchn. Soba rarely gets used in our house but not because it isn’t loved. Just because we don’t seem to have much stuff to go with ’em laying around. No more!

This super easy recipe serves one and can be made easily within 15 minutes. Cleanup isn’t bad and the payoff is big. You can find the original recipe from The Kitchn, called Sesame-Garlic Soba Noodles with Fried Egg. I’m presenting it below from memory with my own adaptations.

  1. Boil some water
  2. Take out an egg
  3. Take out 1.5 ounces of buckwheat soba noodles, which approximately looks like the pic below.
  4. Mince a clove of garlic, thinly slice a small, itty bitty onion (like the tiny ones from this week’s CSA box!)
  5. By now the water should be boiling, so add your noodles and set the timer for 4 minutes, drain and set aside the noodles when cooked
  6. Meanwhile take out a frying pan and add to it, two light glugs of sesame oil.
  7. Add to it the garlic, a dash of red chili flakes and dash of ground ginger.
  8. Fry it up briefly so that the garlic cooks and the chili flakes  release their spicy flavor
  9. Turn off the heat and pour in a couple tablespoons worth of soy sauce
  10. Promptly after (or even better, actually before the soy sauce so you’ll get more heat that way) add the onion slices.
  11. Pour the mixture in with the noodles and give your frying pan a good wipe down, readying for cooking the egg.
  12. Use a bit of butter or oil and reheat your pan, and fry the shit out of that egg. Well, at least over easy.
  13. Serve on top of your soba noodles in some pretty, dish, and go plop your butt in front of the tv.
  14. Break the yoke over the noodles, and enjoy the saucey goodness of mother nature. You’re drooling I can tell. Wait, it’s about to get worse.
  15. Enjoy the perfect bite, times 34. Try not to lick the plate, that’s tacky. 

Mama mia, that’s delicious. The original recipe is linked to HERE, which I adapted based on my available ingredients. It is from Apartment Therapy’s The Kitchn.

Sesame-Garlic Soba Noodles with Fried Egg

Serves one

1 cup soba noodles – about 1.5 ounces dry
1 Tablespoon salt
2 teaspoons sesame oil
1-2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 Tablespoon soy sauce
1 green onion, sliced into thin rounds
1 egg
Extra green onion for garnish
Extra salt

Bring a pot of water to boil and add the soba noodles and a tablespoon of salt. Cook until tender, about 4 minutes. Drain and transfer to serving dish.

Meanwhile, in a small pan over medium heat and add the sesame oil. When the oil is hot, add the garlic, ginger, and red pepper flakes, and sauté until fragrant, about thirty seconds. Remove from heat and stir in the soy sauce. Pour this sauce over the noodles, add the green onion, and toss until the noodles are evenly coated.

Set the same small pan you just used back over medium-high heat. Crack an egg into the pan, being careful not to break the yolk. When the whites have set, use a spatula to gently but swiftly flip the egg over. Cook for a minute or two until the whites are completely cooked but the yolk is still liquid.

Slide the egg on top of the noodles, garnish with green onion if you’re feeling fancy, and eat immediately!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Page 32 of 33