Monday, August 17, 2009

Dorm Enchiladas Challenge

So the point of this site isn't always to create something elaborate, but mostly something yummy. I know when I lived in the dorm, I would often crave my mom's enchiladas. I don't think I've ever found a more fulfilling enchilada recipe until I started playing with my own. Today I present the DORM Enchiladas.

The recipe below is a little much for a dorm, but parts could be done and stored, but the really nice thing about this recipe? You can make everything in the microwave (especially if you have a microwaveable rice cooker. (The microwaveable rice cooker is one of my trusty kitchen side kicks. All college kids who want easily accessible food should get one!)

So the hardest thing first - Yummy rice that goes well with mexican food.

Ingredients can be seen in the picture (except the water)
jalapenos chopped
tomatoes chopped
can of tomato juice (when cooking the rice for then 60% should be the juice, you are cooking the rice in the juice, not flavoring the rice with the juice)
Adobo sauce (this is a mexican tomato based paste, usually kept in oil. It is hard to find without onions and garlic, but it is worth the time, and it lasts a long time. It also doesn't go bad)
Bufalo brand Chipotle sauce - also a hard, but yummy find (I love adding this to the 'I'm Lazy quesodillas').
(NO SALT, everything else has plenty)

Mix and cook as you would most rices.

But I warn you this rice is awesome!

Next - the sauce (here I'll give you two, because after I made this, I made another batch that was AWESOME! All due to that amazing Adobo paste and chipotle sauce.

Sauce #1 (Make in a glass bottle - see the bottle!)
Ingredients -
Tomato paste
honey (to sweet the sauce)
cayenne pepper
crushed red peppers (red pepper flakes)
water to thin the paste

Mix, make sure to break up the chunks of tomato paste, then microwave.

Sauce #2
adobo paste
chipotle sauce
cayenne pepper

mix, break up adobo paste chunks, microwave
Add tomato puree, mix, taste. (Don't eat it all!)

Beans -
canned beans - (Bearitos is cute brand right?)
other flavorings (I used green tabasco to use it up, and cholula sauce)
thin with water

warm corn tortillas in microwave (20 secs) until they are softened

wrap beans and cheese and put in plate
put sauce on enchiladas

I decorated mine with olives and tomatoes, but I've done bell peppers or hot peppers (anything you have really).

sprinkle cheese - microwave until cheese is melted.

Yummy! I generally love enchiladas, but what I love about Dorm Enchiladas is I make everything in the containers I'll keep the leftovers in (except the rice cooker). So clean up is easy. Enjoy!

Tomato Cucumber Salad

I created this salad because a fellow graduate student brought cucumbers from his garden to share with various labs. My inspiration for this salad comes from Tasty Kitchen.

My edited recipe -

Ingredients -

Good cucumber - thinly sliced
tomato - thinly sliced
balsamic vinegar
cheese cubes/pieces (optional) (I used some parmesan and cheddar)

This salad was yummy, very light and represhing.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Ideas for Ricotta

So I have less then half a container of ricotta cheese in the fridge. I don't know what to do with it. I don't have time to make lasagna, raviolis or any stuffed items right now. So what else can I do with it? Any suggestions?

Dessert ideas?
With fruit?
With tomatoes?
Anything that simple.


Breakfast Pasta

I'm back and caught up on other things. So I can share some more recipes. (I have a handful 'in stock' now, including some that friends have shared.)

And a super cute picture of my niece!

So Monday night, my brother crashed at my place and I wanted to make sure he had something to eat before I left for work on Tuesday, but I had no leftovers in the fridge or milk (for him to have cereal) since I had cleaned it pretty well last week.

What to make?

Luckily I had frozen half a can of diced tomatoes! (Never put an open can in the fridge or freezer. Always move it to an alternate container. Thank you Janki's mom for reminding all of us awhile ago!) And I still had those cool purple carrots. And some fresh basil from my little plant outside.

So I decided to make some pasta with a quick tomato sauce.

Quick Marinara sauce (some tips from Mario Batali, some cause I'm crazy?)

Shredded carrots (mine were shredded purple carrots - but yours can be normal)
roughly chopped reconstituted Dried Mushrooms (you don't have to put mushrooms, but if you have them why not?)
Can of diced tomatoes
dried oregano
olive oil
freshly ground pepper (I love my pepper mill, GET ONE if you don't have one!)
couple of leaves of fresh basil (only if you have it)
slivers of parmesan (use a vegetable peeler to get nice slivers)
1/3 bag of pasta (I used rigatoni cause that's what I had)

1. Boil Pasta water
2. Put Olive oil in a pot and heat, when the oil is warm add the dried oregano
3. Add carrots and cook for awhile
4. Add mushrooms and cook for awhile
5. Add salt and continue cooking

6. Add tomatoes, more salt, honey and pepper. Adjust the taste to your liking.
7. Cook for a bit till a lot of the water has burned off. Then rip the basil leaves into shreds and add that to the pot.
8. After the pasta has finished cooking and been drained off, add the sauce and pasta together
9. Serve and sprinkle with parmesan slivers.

10. Try really hard to make sure your brother doesn't eat everything, but give up when you realize he hasn't had cheese in over 4 weeks.

(I couldn't eat the finished product at the time, but Ambrish's verdict was that it was really good.)

Total time (and I wasn't trying to speed) 40 mins tops. But that could have been sped up if I wasn't wasting time in the kitchen, or was multitasking or was a little more organized on Tuesday morning.

The fastest marinara sauce I've ever made - Less time that it takes to make Pasta. (Maybe next time we'll feature that)

So my question to the various people reading this. Let me know how you make a quick, minimal shopping marinara sauce. (I want people to use the comments! Please? If I put another picture of my niece tomorrow?)

Friday, August 7, 2009

In Richmond, VA

Sorry I haven't posted in the last couple of days. I've been in transit. I am now in Richmond, VA. If I discover any new food finds I will share them here.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009


So last week I discovered I probably missed all of asparagus season. Even though I probably only eat it once or twice a year I was sad that I missed asparagus. So after realizing how easy it is to make asparagus incredibly delicious with very little effort I decided to buy some from the store (Oh Noes!).

Anyways, this recipe is so yummy and so easy.

1. set oven to 375ºF
2. Wash bunch of asparagus
3. Line a pizza pan with parchment paper (parchment paper = I don't have to wash the pan or 4. 4. Cut off about 1 inch of the bottom (in some cases you might want more if the asparagus is pretty woody)

5. place asparagus in a single layer on the paper
6. Drizzle olive oil on the asparagus - don't skimp
7. sprinkle with salt and pepper

8. bake for 20-30 mins till the asparagus is soft

9. Try not to eat them all in one sitting.

We'll talk about the salad tomorrow (yummy salad).

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Pesto Potato Salad

Okay so yesterday I made Pesto Potato salad using a Smitten Kitchen recipe, but since it was Ekadashi I didn't use the green beans and instead replace it with oven roasted tomatoes from 101 cookbooks (check the bottom of the recipe to see the instructions for the tomatoes).

So what did I do?

First - Oven Roast the tomatoes (they take a long time)

cut cherry tomatoes in half

then toss them with olive oil, a little salt and honey (the original recipe calls for brown sugar, but I love my bee spit).

After tossing them with the yummy mixture above, lay them out (cut side up) on a oven safe pan (I used a pizza pan with parchment paper, so there won't be any clean up). And bake them in a 350 ºF oven for 45 mins. (I can't remember how long I baked them, but strangely it takes a long time.)

Then the Potatoes

So the smart way to do this is roughly chop (ie don't be a perfectionist about this) yukon gold potatoes and put them into a pot of salted water, cook for about 14 mins (key here DO NOT LET THEM OVER COOK!)

Now the way I did it cause I was distracted -

I boiled whole yukon gold potatoes for more then 30 mins, then realized my mistake, then roughly chopped them and cooked for about 4 - 6 mins (This strangely worked well cause I avoided turning my potatoes into a watery mess. Yucky!) Drain the potatoes when done.

while potatoes are cooking, make up a mess of pesto without pine nuts.
in the pesto I used: a bunch of basil, olive oil, salt and pepper

In a food processor throw in the basil, grind till its fine, then drizzle in olive oil till everything is nicely mixed - then add salt and pepper.

Then using a vegetable peeler slice slivers of parmesan cheese. (Keep on side)

Last but not least - pan roast some pine nuts (takes about 5 mins, do not leave them alone!)

Ok - we are almost done - take the drained potatoes, the pesto, some balsamic vinegar (the recipe calls for white balsamic, but I don't own white), salt, pepper, cheese, pine nuts and the tomatoes. Mix!

Adjust taste to your liking. Enjoy!


Tired, post I will tomorrow

Hello! I made Pesto potato salad - yummy, but it will take to long to post tonight and I am tired from cleaning the whole apartment today.

Later internet!

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Dinner Party

So I went to a dinner party at my friend Chris' place and we all made different food items. I made a yogurt parfait. (I forgot to take pictures :-( ) But the recipe is as follows:

Greek yogurt (Fage brand yogurt, but try to avoid the fat free version) flavored with honey and vanilla.
sliced strawberries (though you can make it with any berries, peaches or plums)
and your favorite granola

I let the yogurt mingle with the honey and vanilla in the fridge for awhile.

After I prepped the parfait at Chris' place I got bored waiting for our friends, Ann and Kevin, so I decided to try to make a fancy looking drink.

So I made up sparkling strawberry lemonade.

Into a sauce pan/pot put honey, fruit, lemon juice and a pinch of salt.

Let it bubble for awhile - mine was a really pretty red boil (I wish I had gotten some pictures).

I let mine bubble until the strawberry slices were falling apart.

Then in a cup I put ice and poured the syrup and sparkling water - stir!
(I recommend putting the sparkling water first then the syrup, either way its really pretty!)

(That's my coworker Chris! Chris stay away from my pretty drink, I know the pink drink is enticing you!)

You should make this - its a wonderful non-alcoholic mixed drink.