Category Archives: Vegetables

Post-Travel Breakfast: Baked Eggs

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Why, hello there! Sorry for going MIA again. It’s beginning to turn into a talent, if I do say so myself.

So what have I been up to for the past few weeks? Well, let’s see:

  1. I finished my scholarly note. For those of you with a law student in your lives, you are probably well-aware that this behemoth of a legal paper is the bane of our existence. That being said, it felt incredibly rewarding when I turned in that thing. After massive amounts of editing, restructuring, then restructuring my restructuring, I was actually somewhat proud of the finished product–in that it contained at least one intelligible sentence. I consider that a success, don’t you?
  2. I caught the plague! There was no Easter celebration at our house this year. Yours truly came down with the stomach bug from hell within 24-hours of reaching my mom’s house. I couldn’t keep anything down for two-and-a-half days. I’ll spare you the details, but  know that I ruined everyone’s holiday. May it never be said that I lack impeccable timing. I didn’t know it was possible to subsist on a diet of soup and Gatorade for as long as I did, but I managed. On the plus side, I am now back to eating normal food.
  3. I took the MPRE. That is all I will ever say on that matter.
  4. I’ve been out of town. After weeks of prep, I spent the larger part of the past week traveling with my clinic to Jamaica. While we didn’t have much downtime, I did take pictures of food and will post them as soon as they are developed (i.e. once I use up the rest of the pics on the disposable camera). Jamaican cuisine is delicious, and this trip reignited my love of scotch bonnet peppers.

So that’s what I’ve been up to over the past few weeks. I’m a bit tired, but feeling accomplished–especially given how well the trip went.

Whenever I get back from a trip, I like to make myself a decent breakfast the next day. Sunday was no different. Eggs have been on my mind lately.  They’ve always been one of my favorite foods, but I tend to forget how wonderful they are. After a full day of traveling, nothing quite screams satisfaction like some runny eggs. This breakfast actually comes together quickly and is easily modified to serve a crowd or to incorporate whatever is lying around the fridge. Happy eating!

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Veggie Burgers

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There’s nothing I hate more than a cold. This past week was pretty bad health-wise for those of us at the law school. It seemed like all of my friends were sick, and my friend Amanda and I got pretty bad colds.  All of my Vitamin C  consumption just couldn’t stave off the law school germs. It probably didn’t help that I’ve been staying up late doing work for the past week and a half, but what’s done is done. I’m just hoping that I’ve fulfilled my cold quota for the year and that the germs will now leave me alone. What can I say? I’m an optimist sometimes.

After a week of soup, soup, and more soup, I was really craving something hearty last night. I spotted this recipe for vegetarian burger a few days ago on Tastespotting and pinned it within seconds of reading the ingredient list. I love black beans. Black bean soup, black bean salad, black beans burritos. You name it, I will eat it. And I love veggie burgers. I’m always looking for more ways to get in my daily dose of protein, and this was just the ticket. It’s hearty and flavorful, and you can easily adapt it to what’s in your kitchen.

The original recipe calls for quinoa, but I am somehow completely out. So I substituted farro. While the grains normally take 35 to 45 minutes to cook, Trader Joe’s now makes a great ten-minute variety. I am actually obsessed. If you haven’t tried farro yet, you definitely should. It’s nutty and filling, and Oprah has classified it as a health food (so it must be true). All I know is that I feel great eating this whole-grain, and it doesn’t hurt that it tastes fantastic!

Happy eating!

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Braised Short Ribs

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I may have found my second-to-last meal. If I have any say in my last meal on earth, I want it to be my mother’s biryani. If I have any say in my second-to-last meal? Well, it had best be these short ribs.

I’m not much of a meat person. I can’t go two meals without eating vegetables, but I’ve been known to go weeks without having a piece of meat. I eat a lot of beans and lentils and probably consume too much dairy, so I tend to get my protein from other sources. That being said, there are few foods in this world that I love more than slow-cooked, tender, fall off the bone ribs in a wine-enriched, vegetable studded sauce. Is your mouth watering yet? While I warn you that this recipe takes almost three hours to make, it is totally worth every millisecond.

I served these glorious slabs of deliciousness atop some instant polenta. For those of you unfamiliar with it, polenta is a staple in Italian cooking. It’s essentially cornmeal, cooked in broth until it is creamy. Conveniently, you can buy quick-cook versions at the Italian grocery store (straight from Italy!) for about the same price as the original, twenty minute stuff. Just whisk 1 cup of quick-cook polenta into 3 cups of broth (or, in my case, 2 cups broth and 1 cup water); add the polenta in a steady stream so as to prevent clumps. Stir for a couple of minutes until creamy, add some salt and pepper, then either throw in some parm and a tablespoon of butter or a tablespoon of mascarpone cheese (a little parm doesn’t hurt here either). The perfect side dish for any hearty meal.

So, if the apocalypse is coming, I would like two days and an expense account at my local Whole Foods. Girl’s gotta eat! Happy eating.

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Wild Rice Kale Gratin

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Sorry for the posting delay. The end of last week was a bit busy. Here’s that promised side dish I’ve been raving about for the last week or so:

As mentioned, I made this for a dinner that I hosted for a few of my high school friends. I am a big fan of kale–especially in the winter. It’s so crunchy and good for you; I can almost feel my arteries clearing up while I eat it. And then I go do things like add it to a gratin and counteract all that artery-clearing with some cheese. But it’s the thought that counts, right?

This recipe comes from The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook, which I wrote about last week. It’s a great dish for a crowd; one recipe fed eight of us with plenty of leftover for my lunches (and dinner) over the weekend. Plus the bites of kale and caramelized onion just go so well with the nutty wild rice. Plus, who can resist a dish with a cheesy-panko topping?

So visualize healthy thoughts while you eat this. I’m sure that it counteracts the cheese? Conversely, maybe all the kale intake will inspire you to go to the gym. In any case, you only live once. Might as well eat happy. Continue reading


Winter Kale Salad

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Yesterday was uncharacteristically warm, topping off at over 60 degrees with tons of sunshine and practically no wind. Given that D.C. has been in the 20s and 30s since Inauguration weekend, this random burst of warmth was quite welcome. I wore a dress for the first time in ages and gave my wool coat a break as I opted for a vest.

Don’t get me wrong; I love cold weather. But cold winter days have a tendency to put me in a rut, both wardrobe-wise and foodwise. Not only do I pile on layer upon layer of sweaters and coats, but I also feel like I need hearty, filling food to cope with the season. The problem is that most comfort food consists of rich stews, roasted chickens, and lentil- or bean-filled chili or soup. Needless to say, one gets really sick of eating the “brown” food group most of the time, and yesterday’s weather was the perfect reason to break this habit.

I tried to stick to winter-friendly ingredients–things that you can find in plentitude during the cold season. The crunchy kale pairs well with the bold flavor of blood oranges and the sometimes sharp bites of fennel. Plus, combining blood orange juice with sherry vinaigrette produces a dressing with the perfect amount of tang. And–personal health plug–this salad is packed with vitamins and antioxidants. Total win.

So here’s to incorporating color into your winter menu. Happy eating.

** Side note: I’ll post the promised Smitten Kitchen side dish on Friday. I just thought the weather called for a salad post!

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Roasted Chicken Thighs with Olives, Tomatoes, and Grapes

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Today’s recipe comes from Deb Perelman of Smitten Kitchen, whose cookbook may be the greatest gift of 2012 to home cooks everywhere. Deb has a fantastic blog, and when I saw that she was releasing The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook, I preordered copies for my sister’s and my good friend Caroline’s Christmas presents. I was lucky enough that my friend Sam (from Blogging with My Mouth Full) was generous enough to gift me the same.

My high school friends and I had a potluck this past weekend, and, as the hostess, I contributed the main dish and a side dish–both of which came from this book. I’ll post the side dish later this week, but it was the main dish that completely blew my mind. First of all, it was easy to make. Easy to assemble, easy to double for a large crowd, easy to do other things like clean your apartment while the chicken bakes. A win for any dinner party.

Second, it was flavor intense. I was both intrigued and wary when I saw that the original recipe featured a combination of grapes and olives. Salt is probably the seasoning that I struggle the most with (isn’t that pathetic?) because everything that I think is too salty, most others find to be not salty enough. What can I say? I’m broken. Leave me alone. As a result, I kind of sort of hate olives. I really want to like them. I try them whenever they are presented to me at Italian restaurants, but I pick them off pizza and never buy them myself. I was also worried that the grapes would be too sweet. Combining the two? Pure genius. The flavors balance each other so well, and the resulting sauce was too perfect for words.

I hope that you give this recipe a try. It might seem a little adventurous but the result is oh-so-worth the risk. Happy eating!

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Breakfast Quesadilla

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The tortilla is a staple of my breakfast diet. I’m not much of a toast person. This tends to shock most people considering that I could easily devour half of a crusty French baguette if you let me. I think it comes down to my abhorrence of sliced bread. One loaf will actually languish for months in the freezer–at which point it’s developed a severe case of freezer burn, and I’ve decided that it’s disgusting to keep bread in one’s freezer for that long and chuck it.

But back to the tortilla. The tortilla has become my go-to breakfast vessel on days when I actually manage to eat breakfast. I am a big fan of eggs, and tortillas just make eating them on the go so much nicer. They just taste more delicious when all rolled up in burrito form. Ever slathered a tortilla in cream cheese and just eaten that? No. Well, get to it, people! Totally unhealthy and totally delicious. These are the things that dorm life taught me.

Plus, the handmade tortillas from Trader Joe’s are just so freaking soft and delicious…

Anyway, I was hangry yesterday morning. Yes, that is an “a” not an “u.” I was ravenous, tired, and cranky, and  desperately wanted either a quesadilla or some eggs (both of which are very legitimate things to want at 8.30am).  This is the result of my cravings. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did. Happy eating!

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Budget Meal: Tortellini Soup

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Confession: I really really really wanted carbonara last night. I knew that I had cream in the fridge, a bit of a pecorino, eggs, and a couple slices of bacon in the freezer, so I trekked home with high hopes of a totally unhealthy meal. Well, folks, I apparently had other uses for that bacon because it was MIA. Honestly, I don’t have a clue what I did with it. I’m sure it got used in some pasta or as the base for a hearty tomato sauce, but the bacon mystery totally foiled my artery-clogging plans for dinner.

Well, I couldn’t really justify spending more money on ingredients from Whole Foods when I have a well-stocked pantry (and I may have already changed into pajama pants by this point…). Since it’s been pretty chilly this week, I settled on this low calorie soup. Because I used tortellini, it was quite filling and wound up being the perfect solution to my Italian comfort food craving.

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A quick note on ingredients: the above are my favorite type of sun dried tomatoes. They’re not packed in anything, so you just get some concentrated tomato flavor; plus, they rehydrate beautifully. I get them at the Korean grocery store by my mom’s. I’m sure you can make them yourself, but these cost me just under $2 and they last forever if you keep them in the fridge. I highly suggest scouring your local ethnic grocery stores for some.

And, with that, happy eating!

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Tortellini Pesto Salad

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Remember that time I had a food blog that got put on the back burner first during exams and then while I let my mother feed me over break? Yeah, I do. Sorry ’bout that. Blogger fail. BUT one of resolutions this year is to be better about blogging. That and keeping my “to do” lists organized in a Moleskine journal. Oh, and to pack my lunch more often. Don’t worry, I have already put all of these on a “to do” list.

Anyway, let’s work on two of those, shall we? Today, I bring you a tortellini salad that takes about as long to make as it does to boil some pasta. It features some colorful vegetables–which I think is what most people are hoping to add to their diet around this time of year. The best part, however, is that this salad incorporates my favorite condiment at the moment: red pesto. Made from sun-dried tomatoes, cashews, and some quality olive oil, I first fell in love with it while studying abroad and rediscovered it after picking up a jar from Eataly this past summer. My friend Amanda was kind enough to replenish my stock and to grab a jar of my favorite brand on her last trip to NYC (I have the greatest friends ever). I have yet to make my own, but something tells me that attempt is right down the road.

Happy Eating!

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Parippu (a.k.a. Kerala Lentils)

A few Saturdays ago, I visited one of my favorite Ethiopian restaurants in D.C., Etete, with my friends West & Amanda (of apple and pumpkin picking fame). I love trying different ethnic cuisines, and Ethiopian food is definitely near the top of my list. We settled on the vegetarian combination (without fish), some Kitfo (a spicy beef curry), and Yebeg Alicha (a milder lamb stew). Everything was delicious. While I love the meat curries, I’ve mentioned before on the blog that I’m not much of a meat eater. As a result, it was only natural that my favorite part of the meal wound up being the variety of lentils in the veggie combo.

This, of course, made me crave some of my mom’s parippu. If you’ve ever eaten Indian food, this is probably better known to you as Daal. Just think of this as the Kerala version of the dish. I wound up calling my mother so many times last night that she thought I’d been in some sort of accident when she saw all the missed calls. Nope, just needed the recipe.

While I was pleased with the results, this would have benefit from some cilantro and curry leaves. I, of course, had neither because I ran out of the former and pretty much never have the latter. What can I say? I’m a bad Indian. Cilantro or not, this dish is delicious, healthy, and easy to make. And, now that Trader Joe’s sells red lentils, you really have no excuse not to make this. Happy eating!

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