Wednesday, April 27, 2016

On The Road Again

It has been exactly 2 years and 2 days since I have posted anything on my blog.

Life just took me in a totally different direction for a while.

But it doesn't look like everyone has given up on me. I still have a decent number of pageviews, and people seem to check out my Facebook. Instagram has been very busy.

I've still been cooking, and eating, but I've been photographing a lot more and traveling some. I also got a kitten, so there are about 1 million photos of William Wizard Turner on my Instagram.

So, I'm back here somehow. My good friend PeanutPimpMama cajoled me into getting back into the blog scene for this trip I am planning. I've been plotting it since around September last year, and I'm just getting into the meat and potatoes of it.

I'm headed to Spain for almost a month. It's a big birthday present I decided to give myself.

Right now, it looks like a vacation, but there is a possibility certainty it will be a long adventure, and not just the trip of a lifetime. I may never return. Who is to say?

I've stumbled upon some really great resources for planning trips like this, but it's harder than I thought, so I decided if I share my experiences and successes, and failures (though I don't hope for that), maybe it will help someone else. Maybe it will just inspire someone else to live life a little fuller.

Stay tuned for more updates.

Here are some highlights of what I've been doing the last two years:

Look, I'm A Real Photographer

 I'm Still Cooking: Seared Salmon Over Quinoa with Roasted Citrus and Pistachio Pistou

William Wizard Turner Was a Handsome Baby Parrot Kitty. He Plays Fetch and Swims in the Bathtub!

 I'm A Member of The Charleston Brown Water Society. We Drink Bourbon.

Definitely follow me on instagram if you wish to stay in touch.

Monday, April 21, 2014

The "Bigger Picture" Quiche

Quiche is probably one of the most uninspired dishes in the history of the kitchen.

It is an ingredient catch-all, and therefore, incredibly easy to execute. This particular quiche, however, was inspired by a picture bigger than the fridge from which it came. Each ingredient has a storied excuse for it's inclusion and for that, it is a worthy meal.

This post is maybe a deconstructed quiche recipe. Instead of a recipe for how to take all of the ingredients in your fridge and turn them into a quiche, I will tell you why I made this quiche. Then I will tell you about the ingredients and what you might want to do with them, should you find them lying around your house. Besides making a quiche, of course.

Before I begin, I would like to acknowledge that I have been a bad blog mommy. I have been neglectful. I will not bore you with tales of woe, I will not tell you I have been busy or overwhelmed. I will just say that I have been learning.

I have been learning to eat healthier, more affordably, and more proportionately.

All of this, and the quiche, has been inspired by a very close friend, KB's journey to health and happiness, and my wonderful, kind roommate, A's newly discovered kitchen gusto. I love having amazing, talented, beautiful friends who are wonderful people that love to eat too.

My roommate A, will tell you that I inspired her to start cooking, but truthfully she has reinvigorated my interest in cooking and in eating. She loves healthy food and has begun to cook with complete abandon. She comes into our kitchen and just throws spices and ingredients together to make the most flavorful healthy meals I have ever seen. A, likes to bring home ingredients I would never purchase, and do things with them that I would never do. I get to watch and soak it in, and then I go purchase the same ingredients and make something totally different from them.

My very good friend KB has taken her self down 30+ pounds since January, and couldn't look more phenomenal. She is eating healthy, exercising regularly and is super enthusiastic about how all of it has changed her body and her demeanor. She has inspired close friends and complete strangers to do the same thing. If you are interested, check out her whole story on her FB page.

Inspired by these women, I went into the kitchen to cook.

When A left for church this Easter Sunday, I began to thing about Easter foods and Easter eggs, which was where the Bigger Picture Quiche began. I have a bakers dozen eggs sitting in my fridge and I need to use them up. So, I started with a bowl of 5 eggs.

To make the Bigger Picture Quiche I started with a spelt crust (no, I didn't make this from scratch). A introduced me to spelt via her spelt flour pizza. I enjoy spelt because something in it's flavor reminds me of sourdough, and it's slightly more toothsome than white flour.  Frozen pie crusts are always good to have around, and this is what I decided to try. If you haven't yet, I encourage every one of you to try spelt. Suzie's Multiseed Spelt Flatbreads are perhaps one of my favorite discoveries. They are crackers, no weird texture or flavor great with anything. If you try them you will love them. If you try spelt you will also be diversifying your diet with a new grain. Why not diversify?

This next "ingredient" is the vegan equivalent of crack. Vegan Crack is actually a recipe for Sun-Dried Tomato Pesto from the blog My New Roots. A showed me this blog and I am hooked. Vegan Crack is one of the most amazing and versatile items I have ever added to my kitchen repertoire. You take a clove of garlic and throw it in your food processor with toasted pumpkin seeds and sun-dried tomatoes. Pulse this until it's as coarse or smooth as you wish. I prefer to keep it pretty coarse but it's fun to try it smoother or coarser depending on how you intend it to be used. This stuff stays in my fridge at all times. I threw it over some hummus and put out spelt crackers at my last dinner party and my guests loved it. I like to eat it with "arugula salad", which is what I call it when I take arugula and lemon juice, and a little bit of the oil from the tomatoes and toss them together with walnuts. Vegan Crack is also awesome over grilled or sautéed polenta cakes with a sprinkle of parmesan and fresh basil. I have thrown it in with some left over rice noodles or tri-color quinoa and acted like tomato sauce was out-dated. It's impossible to resist.

Recently, I came home and A was making dinner. She chopped kale, drizzled it with salt and olive oil, and toasted it under the broiler on a cookie sheet. It came out smelling wonderful and as she knocked it into her bowl, the crispy sound it made was indescribably mouth-watering. I realize now that is because it sounded reminiscent of pulling the little crumbs out of a bag of potato chips...exhilarating. Both KB, and A eat a lot of green things and it makes me feel guilty. I love greens, but I don't really like salad. When I make salad, I feel like I only end up with enough food for that night,  and I don't have leftovers for work, and that annoys me. I also feel like I made a lot of effort for not a lot of food. I get bored of chewing kale, but it is the only green with enough turgidity for me to keep in the fridge (that means it stays crisp longer than other greens). Usually I will sauté it with garlic and white wine, which is yummy, but it gets old. Since A showed me toasted kale, I cannot buy it fast enough. I like to pick up a bag at the store, toast it, and throw it in a bowl with some rotisserie chicken, Sun-dried Tomato Crack, and quinoa. It's good on sandwiches, and its so good I can hardly get it off of the cookie sheet before stuffing it in my mouth.

KB is always telling me that lean protein is good so I have been trying to substitute the bacon in my diet for more lean protein. My coworker showed me Spicy Jalapeño Chicken Sausages from Trader Joes. Since, I have a package in my fridge I toasted one up, chopped it into bites, and threw it in the quiche too. Tomorrow night I will put it in my Pad Thai.

I love onion, and I love to add it to dishes because it always makes them more interesting. Nothing new or fancy here, but I threw in some caramelized onions because while my crust defrosted I had 20+min to let them melt to a beautiful golden brown. If you make a ton, they can spruce up EVERYTHING. Even that dull salad.

Last, were some button mushrooms I had because I keep them around to fill me up. I sliced and sautéed them and added them to the quiche. Half will hang around and go into dinner tomorrow.

So let's recap...

1. Spelt Pie Crust, defrosted, docked, and blind baked for 10min.
2. Caramelized Onions
3. Sun-Dried Tomato Pesto aka Vegan Crack
4. Sautéed Mushrooms
5. Toasted Kale
6. Lean Protein (optional) I chose Chicken Sausage
7. 5 eggs, salt and pepper.

Less than ten ingredients. Whisked together and poured into the crust and cooked for 30-45min, or until the egg is still a little wiggly, but set.

This will be lunch for a few days. And the leftovers will go into dozens of different healthy dishes that I can eat the rest of the week.

I hope you enjoyed this post and are feeling inspired to fool around with at least one of these ingredients.

I'll try to cook for you more. I miss this more than I realized.

Happy Easter!

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Just Soup. From the Pantry. Spinach, Coconut Milk, Lemon and Chickpeas.

I like this soup so much that I couldn't get my memory card from my camera to my computer without pausing for a spoonful out of the bowl in my other hand.

The kicker is that I actually followed a recipe. When I woke up this morning I had white, Idaho, and sweet potatoes in my fridge, some garlic, a few onions, almond milk and lactose-free yogurt. Since it's the holiday season I'm trying to keep stock low to make space for cool opportunities to go out to eat and out of town family meals.

A few weeks back I saved a link to 25 Vegetarian Recipes you Can Cook in Under 30 minutes on TreeHugger so I decided to visit for inspiration. Vegetarian eating has been the way to go at home since I was forced to buy a new (larger) pair of jeans over Thanksgiving week.

Recipes that don't require a lot of shopping are my favorite, mainly because if I go in Whole Foods for a carrot I will inevitable come out with three bags of groceries and $100 "Whole" in my pocket. Plus it is winter now and the cold weather doesn't encourage me to leave the house. The soup I made for lunch today fulfills all my winter cooking requirements.

Back on TreeHugger, Braised Coconut Spinach with Chickpeas and Lemon caught my eye. Chickpeas and coconut milk are pantry staples and I discovered a nub of fresh ginger hiding under my potatoes. All I needed to make this happen was a lemon, some sun-dried tomatoes and a bunch of spinach.

Different versions of the recipe recommend serving it over a whole roasted sweet potato or basmati rice. I opted to roast cubed sweet potato and throw the pieces over the top for a slightly crunchy, sweet starch. I also sweated down my onions slower than the recipe recommended and only needed half a lemon worth of juice. The cool thing is that this recipe can get revamped if I add some curry or make some rice. I bet if I had used less of the ingredients I could have made a cold salad version of this, and used the oil the tomatoes came in to create a lemon vinaigrette.