Food


FETA ON FLEEK

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We went camping this weekend, which is cool in the sense that camping is totally cool when you realize that you’re just sitting there under a Mexican yoga blanket with a min pin or two chilling because chilling is the only option that’s really available to you at the moment, which is great when you’re a busy adult who always has shit like laundry or cleaning up around the house or reading the preeminent text on the trivium as it relates to homeschooling (more on that soon) or doing squats or something else productive that you always end up doing instead of chilling, but not as cool when you realize that camping is kind of hard and three dogs are impossible to maneuver and always want to get their leashes tangled up and you totally can’t sleep while camping no matter what and you pretend you don’t care and stay up all night in the light of the inflatable solar lantern you wisely packed reading Hard-Boiled Wonderland and The End of the World on your Kindle but ugh fish-worshipping underground people who eat decaying flesh kind of creep you out when it’s just you alone awake in the pitch dark in the middle of nowhere and you wait for panic to descend on your brain but it doesn’t and then you move through the ins and outs of the next day like a zombie.

But the one thing you can do while camping, no matter what, is make really awesome food. We’ve been doing this thing with feta for as long as we’ve been camping, since I first heard about it from Oprah of all people. I’ve finally perfected it and it’s the best thing in the world to do while camping because camping requires, if nothing else, vegan marshmallows and something really delicious and special that you eat only when you’re camping.

CAMPING FETA

Here’s what you do. Before you go camping (either the night before or the day of — it doesn’t matter), take a small jar. Fill that jar with freshly cut oregano from your garden if you can; otherwise use whatever fresh oregano you can find. Take some scissors and cut the oregano into little pieces. Add the following: a few very thin slices of red onion; three or four thinly sliced garlic cloves; a few sun-dried tomatoes, either sliced or whole, whatever you’re into; some pine nuts; freshly ground black pepper; red pepper flakes; and enough olive oil to just about cover everything. Close the jar and refrigerate. Transfer to your cooler along with a block of feta. When you’re at your campsite preparing dinner, place the block of feta on a largish piece of foil shaped into a bowl-like shape around the feta. Spoon the mixture, which will be slightly solidified as a result of being refrigerated, which is super great because that means oil won’t spill everywhere, over the feta. Wrap the foil around the feta and seal as best you can with the intention of keeping the oil inside. Wrap this in another largish piece of foil and seal as well as you can. Take the foil package and place it in or on your campfire for a while, maybe a little longer than you think, turning occasionally, until the feta is melty and the flavors have melded into something insanely delicious. Serve with some delicious crusty bread — it doesn’t matter what kind, really. We had this over cranberry walnut bread and it was great even though that sounds kind of weird. Put any leftover feta in the jar and allow to cool before putting it back in the cooler to save for later.

Enjoy, and remember that camping in reality is never as perfect as it is in your imagination. <3


You should totally make some sauerkraut!

If you believe one thing I’ve ever told you, let it be this: You should totally make some sauerkraut. Even if you’re not the world’s biggest fan of sauerkraut (my love of sauerkraut was small and limited to its important role in tempeh reuben sandwiches), it might turn out that you totally love homemade sauerkraut.

And it’s easier than you might think, especially if you follow this recipe from the Kitchn. One awesome benefit of making your own sauerkraut is that you can let it ferment for as long or short a time as you like. I let mine go for four days, so it ended up being crispier and a little less intense than store-bought sauerkraut.

So good.

Next up: kombucha! I think. And another batch of homebrew!

Also, here are two random food ideas:

  • Tempeh reuben pizza on rye crust! Of course I googled this and it’s already been done, but who cares it’s so great.
  • Next time you’re making chocolate ice cream, add about a cup of smallish pretzels when the ice cream is almost done churning. (You might want to decrease everything else just a bit so your ice cream maker doesn’t overflow like mine did the other day — oops.) So good!

Hippie Wraps

hippie wraps n kale chips

I’m always hesitant to say I made something up because I know that when I make something up, somebody somewhere has not only already made it up but has, like, turned it into a for-profit business, like footless pantyhose (although to be fair, I’m glad I never pursued that because there is no reason for a woman in our time to be wearing pantyhose ever) and breakfast pizza. So I should say I made this thing up and didn’t bother to google it to find out somebody somewhere has not only made hippie wraps but has established a successful and lucrative business selling hippie wraps out of a vintage Airstream outside microbreweries, distilleries, and speakeasies accessible only through the hidden back door of a store that sells comic books and authentic vintage 80s rapper wear.

So anyway, I made these up and we had them for dinner and they were really good. I’ve been hearing a lot about people’s struggles with menu planning lately, so I’m going to try (you know how that goes) to post more recipes or even menu suggestions. I think menu planning to me is what organizing (boring, tedious, and gross) or budgeting (worse than giving birth while on a crashing airplane with only Tim Tebow and Colonel Mustard) are to other people. I love menu planning. Honestly, you could probably hire me to plan your menu for the next month. Oh wait, I’m sure somebody somewhere already offers that service.

Hippie Wraps

Ingredients

  • whole wheat tortillas
  • cream cheese
  • shredded cheddar cheese
  • fresh spinach
  • shredded carrot
  • peeled and thinly sliced cucumber
  • thinly sliced tomato
  • sprouts (preferably spicy)
  • peperoncini from a jar, stems removed and halved or quartered
  • green goddess dressing (I used this recipe and it’s very good.)
  • sliced Tofurky (optional)

Directions

Spread some cream cheese across the middle of a tortilla (just make a big stripe — it doesn’t need to go all the way to both edges). Add the rest of your ingredients in whatever order you like (the most important decision is probably which ingredient you “marry” to the cream cheese — I’d recommend tomato or cucumber, or maybe the Tofurky if you’re including it). I like to stuff my wraps with so many veggies I can’t fold the edges in and have to use a fork and a knife, but I’m weird. Serve with homemade kale chips. (I know they sell kale chips, but why. All you do is wash some kale, tear it into bite-sized pieces, toss with oil, sprinkle with sea salt, and bake stirring occasionally at 350 until they’re as crispy as you like.)

I’m happy to report Ben liked them and didn’t even add hot sauce. Soren ate most of the ingredients individually (I remember being like this as a child and I wish I could just fast forward him through the stage where you don’t like to combine your food items because life is so much more fun when you get over that) and fought me for the last of the kale chips. So I think this is a winner!

Enjoy!


Winter Juice

juice tangerines lemon kale cilantro

Until this weekend, I’d gone so long without making juice our juicer was all dusty and feeling like a forgotten small kitchen appliance. This is a bummer, especially because Soren loves juice and will drink just about anything. Usually I make him something involving oranges and/or tangerines, an apple, a pear, and a carrot. And I’ve finally perfected my favorite juice that’s good for winter. It goes like this:

  • 4 tangerines (If you use really little ones, like those tiny little clementines, use 5 or 6)
  • 1/2 of a Meyer lemon (or 1/4 of a regular lemon)
  • 5 or 6 kale leaves, stems removed
  • a nice big handful of cilantro, stems removed
  • a few (3 or 4) ice cubes
  • a little cold water (maybe 1/4 cup or so)

I like to run the tangerines and the lemon through the juicer, then add that juice to the Vitamix with the rest of the ingredients and blend on high until it’s all nice and smooth.

Bonus: Chickens love the leftover pulp and kale stems!


Red Curry

I almost like having a cold

I almost like getting a cold for two reasons: (1) it offers a possible explanation of why that last run was so terrible; and (2) Ben always agrees to pick up Thai food when I’m sick. (Ben doesn’t particularly like Thai (or Chinese, while we’re at it) food, which is super weird and the only way in which we are not food soul mates — oh wait, that and pineapple on pizza, ew.)

As soon as a sore throat materializes, all I want is spicy red curry, usually from Tommy’s. (I get hot, not Thai hot, although I would like to try Thai hot one day just to see if I could handle it.) I like it hot enough that it kind of hurts and my nose runs and my eyes water.

I think I could remedy my Thai food deficit if I could learn how to make it myself. The problem is past recipes have always been disappointing. Last week, I made red curry (using this recipe, but with broccoli and bamboo shoots instead of shallots and snap peas) and it was okay but nothing like the red curry you get from a restaurant. It was too brothy and not thick enough, and pretty disappointing flavor-wise even though I used some super-fancy organic curry powder that I made into paste myself. I’ve also made pad Thai from a Pinterest recipe that was okay at first but then way too dry even after doubling the sauce. So I have a lot of work to do. I wish I could shadow a Thai chef for a few hours or something. That would be awesome.

Okay, here’s a resolution, or maybe it would be better to call it a project: In 2014, I will learn to make decent (1) red curry and (2) drunken noodles.

Update: Duh! I’ve been operating under the assumption that red curry is the same thing as panang curry, but it isn’t. Panang curry is what I should be trying to make, not red curry. The more you know!