Sunday, January 15, 2012

Food Post!

Ok, sorry, I've been lax, but the good news is that because I've been lax, you now get a bunch of fun food things in ONE POST!!! Hopefully that doesn't mean an overdose - I don't think it's possible to overdose on food posts. Is it?

Anyway, this week was long, so there weren't as many recipes from the cookbook as recipes from myself. This week was recipes learned from various people at various points in my life, so here's to you people, wherever you may be!

On Thursday I made mac and cheese. I learned this recipe from my mom at goodness knows what age. I was old enough to cook with supervision, but i honestly don't know when I learned it. I fell like I always have. Anyway, Thursday was the day Chicago got about 4-5 inches of snow and I was out in it. It was a comfort food day, and mac and cheese fit that bill.

I know a bunch of people who bake mac and cheese, and that's all well and good, but honestly, this is the real way to make it. Well, it's the way I know and love, so give it a try - it's easier, and you may just like it. Put the pasta on to boil. While that's going, make a roux. It's equal parts butter and flour (I use 3 tbsp) and half that in cups of milk (I use 1 1/2 cups - see how that works?). Put the butter in a pot and heat until it's melted (try not to burn it). Add the flour and mix it in well (you get a grainy buttery substance). Add the milk SLOWLY, mixing it in well. Then let that heat (stirring occasionally) while you cut up some cheddar or other type of cheese (I use about half of one of the small blocks from the store - maybe a cup?). When the milk begins to bubble, add the cheese and stir until the cheese has melted. If it's too soupy, add more cheese. If too thick, add more milk. Add salt, pepper, oregano, and some crushed red pepper (if you want). mix it all together and wait until the mixture starts to bubble. Then add the pasta and viola, you have mac and cheese. Takes however long you need to cook the pasta. Easy, fast, and yummy - what more could you want?

Ok, Friday, I made broccoli Roman style to go with rice and a tempeh/spinach mixture. Rice was rice - you make it and eat it, there's not much to it. Roman style broccoli is different. You put some olive oil in a pan (enough to cover the bottom, maybe more), then add salt and garlic. once it's hot, add the broccoli and stir so that the oil coats the brocolli. Stir it occasionally until the broccoli looks cooked (bright green, starting to turn brown). Add some lemon juice and serve!

My Inang (mother) in Indonesia taught me the tempeh recipe. We used to have a cooking class at my house, because Inang is a nationally-renown chef, and she taught us this recipe. Tempeh (for those who don't know) is a soy product that comes in bricks and looks like soy beans in soy paste. It's solid (don't worry, not icky), and you can chop it up and fry it, back it, or whatever. It has WAY more protein than tofu, so I'm told (I could be wrong) and tastes WAY better in my opinion. Not that I don't like tofu, I just love tempeh. You can probably find it at your local grocery store (most carry it near tofu). Whole Foods often has it - that's where we get it up here. For this, you cut the tempeh into small chunks, pour enough oil (canola, vegetable, whatever) in a pan to cover the bottom and then some, and then fry the tempeh. Stir the tempeh occasionally (so each side gets browned) until it turns a golden-brown color and starts getting crispy. Add some salt and soy sauce and mix it together. Add some garlic and about two handfuls of raw spinach. Stir it all around until the spinach has cooked down and it's mixed together. Serve it with rice (don't forget the Roman broccoli!) and enjoy!

And the last recipe was one I picked up in Canton during the summer I was interning on a farm and the internship suddenly fell through. I was crashing temporarily with some friends in the townhouses (I don't think the administration knew... oops) and we often made pizza. So here's a recipe for fresh pizza dough: Take 1 1/2 cups of flour (for 2 personal pizzas), 1 tbsp instant yeast, 1 tbsp salt, 1 1/1 tbsp olive oil, and 1 1/4 cup water. Mix it all together (really). The dough should be slightly sticky, but not all over the place, and should form a ball when you're done. If it's too sticky, add flour. If too dry, add water. once done, put oil in a bowl, put the dough in the bowl and turn it so it gets covered with the oil, and let it rise until it doubles in size (about an hour). Roll into crusts, decorate, bake at 450-500 degrees until the crust browns, and serve!

So there you go - not so much cookbook recipes, but still good recipes!

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