March 11, 2015

Almond Cheese aka Fromunda Cheese

I spent some time with some vegans this weekend. If vegans are anything, they are completely dedicated to making their food taste good. I suppose they do that so they don't also miss out on the joys of a delicious, comforting meal while still maintaining their moral ground of not eating animal byproducts. I dig it, I could totally get on board with it if I had a personal chef who prepared my food for me. To be vegan, at least a healthy one, takes dedication, time, and commitment.

While I was there I spoke with one of the girls about making nut cheese, it is something I have been wanting to do for awhile because dairy does not quite agree with my skin. They just don't play well together so I gave up dairy in most forms with the exception of cheese. Cheese is its own food group in my world. Anyways, after some talking with her I was feeling froggy. I went home and promptly dumped some almonds into a bowl to soak.

Almond cheese requires you to soak the almonds for 24 hours. I should have taken this as an indication of how frustrating they would be to work with, but alas! I did not. So last night, my beloved Tuesday night was spent peeling almonds. You got that right folks, peeling almonds.

After nearly 2 hours of peeling, I finally had 1 cup full of almonds. I put all of my ingredients into my Ninja blender and blended the shit out of them. I had to get out a spatula and keep scraping the sides every 4.2 seconds because it would just launch the almond bits to the sides and not chop them any further.

 I use fresh lemon juice because I don't like chemicals in my food so I prefer to just make most things instead of buying a convenient, time saving, money saving bottle. Dammit, I need to reevaluate my life choices.

After what felt like an eternity, I gave up and scraped the mixture into a food processor... where I had to do the same thing. Eventually, I got this ricotta like cheese substance.

I tasted it and much to my surprise, it was not completely foul. What it was though is extremely garlicky! I don't know what it is about vegetarian and vegan recipes calling for so much raw garlic, but dammit it is a strong flavor. My dear Poopyschunffkins once made a vegan ravioli that he spent 4 hours making only to ruin it with raw chopped garlic. Be careful with the stuff. He is still disappointed about that failure.

So there you have it, my ball of cheese that is currently wrapped up and getting firm in my fridge. I plan to eat it on Friday night with some rice crackers or possibly make a grilled cheese sandwich with it and some home made bread.

1 cup of organic, raw almonds
1 teaspoon Rosemary
1 teaspoon parsely
1 teaspoon raw minced garlic, because face it - you're not making out with anyone ever again
4 teaspoons of lemon juice
2 tablespoons of Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Soak almonds for 24 hours (if using cashews or macadamia nuts, soak for 6 hours), peel the almonds, mix all ingredients in your blender or food processor until it resembles ricotta cheese. There you have it, a giant ball of nut cheese, also known as fromunda cheese.

The calorie count on this entire ball is about 880 calories. Next time I make this I will not use almonds, I will not add chopped raw garlic, and I might mince the rosemary more. The herbs on this could use some testing, I am going to try sun dried tomatoes and basil next time.


March 10, 2015

Orange Sesame Crock Pot Chicken

Tuesday is my favorite week night. It is my night to come home to a meal in the crock pot, put on my sweats, and do nothing but watch Gilmore Girls all night. Not always Gilmore Girls, and not always watching TV, sometimes (most of the time) I read. Tuesdays are so indulgent to me because I am busy every single night of the week except Tuesday and any other free nights are spent with someone else. Tuesday is my night to be alone, be gross, be lazy, be me in my natural state! My latest Tuesday night crock pot meal was made from the Against All Grain cookbook (it's an alright cookbook, leans a little heavy on meat consumption though which is hard for me because I don't partake in meat regularly). This dish was pretty good and hit the spot as far as craving bad-for-you-but-not Chinese food. It was salty enough to make it feel indulgent.

2 pounds of boneless, skinless chicken thighs
1/3 cup coconut aminos or Gluten Free Soy Sauce
1/3 cup honey
2 tablespoons orange juice
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 tablespoon sesame oil
2 teaspoon minced garlic
3/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon cracked black pepper
Garnish- sesame seeds

**I like my nose to be running off my face when I eat, so I added quite a few shakes of crushed red pepper**

Place your chicken in the crock pot. Don't do what I did - I cubed it, don't do that. Cutting it up is a bad idea. Also, don't use chicken breasts like I did. I mixed it between chicken breasts and chicken thighs because I needed to use some chicken breasts from my fridge. (This was my first meal where I was officially eating chicken again... I think I'm going to give it up again) Anyways, so don't cube it and don't use chicken breasts because it gets too dry. If you don't have to leave it in the crock pot for 9,876 hours like I do while I work then you probably won't have a problem but 10 hours is too long for it. Use the darker thighs.

Mix all of your other ingredients except the sesame seeds in a bowl

Coat the chicken with the mixture in the crock pot.

I had no liquid aminos at the time to use for this recipe so I had to use what my shit-hole grocery store had to offer. This is what I got. This soy sauce is made of: WATER, SOYBEANS, RICE, SALT

Looks like poop, not so appetizing. I cooked mine on low for 10 hours. I know that is a long time but when you work full time some times you have to cook your chick on low for 10 hours.

I served this over a bed of cauliflower "rice" which was really delicious. I'm not a follower of "Paleo" eating; however, I do find a lot of recipes that are coming out of that eating lifestyle and I'm glad that it is trendy now to find alternatives to processed shit. I'm not a fan of processed shit or additives to my food.

I did the math for the calorie count on this, it was around 1900 for the entire crock pot full of chicken. It made 4 very hearty servings, so about 475 per serving. It could easily be 6 servings though, I'm just a fatty on Tuesdays and eat until my sweat pants fit.


January 7, 2015

Healthy Alternatives

I gave up meat for the New Year. Not all animal byproducts, but chicken, beef, turkey, and pork will no longer be in my staple food list. I am going to finish the meat that is in my freezer and do my best to not buy anymore, or eat anymore (I did make a quarterly agreement to be able to eat organic, locally raised meat though. Hey, a girl needs a damn cheeseburger every now and then). I am also trying to find alternatives to added sugar and replacing some of the more processed grains in my life. I know, huge steps that may end up making me a crotchety ol bitty.

I have a friend who is working on her M.S. in Nutrition so I am very lucky to be able to ask her all kinds of questions about my diet and alternatives to what I am currently eating. She has great ideas and will possibly be all over the Internet someday for her "Just Look At Your Poop" approach to a healthy diet. She sent me a link today with healthy alternatives to most of the fatty, processed crap we put in our food on a daily basis because I was looking for alternatives to butter and sugar. It is worth sharing this with you all and putting it here so I have it for a quick reference in my own kitchen.

1 cup butter, shortening, or oil = 1 cup applesauce
1 cup butter = 1 cup of a not very ripe banana or 1 cup mashed avocado
cooking spray = 1 Tbsp olive oil, coconut oil or avocado oil
1 Tbsp. sugar = 1 tsp. cinnamon
1 cup sugar = 3/4 cup honey, in baking, reduce liquids by 1/4 and mix in 1/4 tsp baking soda ( if baking soda is not already included) for every cup of honey used. Food will brown faster as it bakes so watch the amount of time it bakes in the oven.
1 cup heavy whipping cream = 1 cup evaporated milk
1 cup chocolate chips = 1 cup carob chips
1 cup white flour = 1 cup black bean puree
1 large egg = 1 Tbsp chia seeds and 3 Tbsp water
1 cup pasta = 1 cup spaghetti squash, zucchini, shredded cabbage, ribboned eggplant or bean sprouts
1 cup cooked rice = 1 cup grated steamed cauliflower, cooked quinoa, cooked barley or cooked millet
1 cup mashed potatoes = 1 cup mashed cauliflower, celery root, parsnip or carrot
1 cup cream = 1 cup Greek yogurt or coconut milk
1 cup sour cream = 1 cup Greek yogurt
1 tortilla = 1 large leaf of lettuce
1 Tbsp. mayo or miracle whip = 1 Tbsp. greek yogurt, mashed avocado, olive oil, hummus, pesto, mustard, cottage cheese or almond butter. These alternatives are great for spreads on sandwiches!
1 cup of uncooked quick oats or oatmeal = 1 cup of uncooked millet, barley, quinoa, amaranth or spelt
canola oil = Greek yogurt Cut the oil in half and add ¾ cup of yogurt for every cup of oil that you remove from the recipe.
frosting = whipped cream, fresh fruit, fruit glaze or homemade pudding. Use as much as desired.
creamed soups = mashed potato flakes or pureed carrots, add as much as desired to broth for a creamy consistency.

Be adventurous in all aspects of your life, don't be afraid to try something new and scary! 


September 9, 2014

Eggplant Parmesean

So it needs to be stated... I can't ACTUALLY cook. I'm a very experimental person in the kitchen and most of the things I cook are edible but not life changing. I do like to cook though, and the more experimental I get, the more success I seem to have. Eggplant parmesean hit my radar last week when I kept seeing Facebook posts about people making it. Then as fate would have it, I drove by my local farmer's market (Kellerman's) and they had some eggplant. I figured I'd try to make it even though I have never had eggplant that wasn't soggy.

1 eggplant sliced
2 eggs
1/2 cup bread crumbs
1 cup of all purpose flour
salt and pepper to season flour
Vegetable oil to fry

Ok, so we start by slicing the eggplant about 1/2 inch in thickness

Next take your two eggs and whisk them together. Put your bread crumbs in a bowl and your flour in a separate bowl.

Dredge your eggplant first through the egg, then through the bread crumbs, and lastly through the flour. Do 4 - 6 slices and set on a plate.

At this point, your oil should be warmed up. Right? I probably forgot to mention that you need to put about 2 inches of oil in a pan and turn it on medium heat. I'm not a very gadgety person, so I tend to put the heat on medium and let the oil warm for about 15 minutes before putting anything in it. If you want, get an oil thermometer. This will help tremendously... but don't ask me what temperature it should be. No effing idea! Wing it!

Place your eggplant disks into the heated oil with tongs, or your hands - really, this is your world use whatever you want. Tongs worked best for me.

I had to turn mine over because eggplant is not heavy enough to sink to the bottom to cover it. I cooked it for 3 minutes on each side.

Take out of oil, place on paper towel to absorb some of the left over grease.

Proceed to stuff your face like a fat ass while you wait for the other disks to cook.

When they are all done, top on spaghetti, cover in marinara sauce and fresh mozzarella cheese.

Stuff face, undo pants, and revel in your fatness.

I was a little leery on making this because eggplant is ALWAYS soggy. Amazingly, these turned out to be crispy and really good. I ate the entire eggplant, most of it just being dipped in marinara sauce while I waited for things to cook. I can't say I would do anything differently, the deliciousness of this surprised the shit out of me. It was extremely cheap also. I paid $1 for the eggplant, had the flour, breadcrumbs, spaghetti, and marinara sauce already.


August 13, 2014

Fish Tacos

Over the weekend I participated in Operation Stay Busy for Four Months in the Outer Banks. While there, my friend and I went to The Atlantic Coast Cafe in Rodanthe, North Carolina. They are known for their fish tacos. Normally, I am not a fish taco kind of girl; however, when you go to a restaurant that is known for one dish, you get that dish. So we both got the fish tacos. I am happy to report that these fish tacos were some of the best things I have ever put down my gullet. They were extremely pricey for what they were ($13) but they were worth it after the fact. Since I will not be back to the Outer Banks until next year, I figured I would try to replicate these tacos.

My ingredients:
1 package of flour tortillas in fajita size
1 package of hard taco shells
2 pieces of cod
1/2 cup flour
1/4 cup corn meal
1 egg
1 bag packaged cole slaw
Sour cream
Pico de gallo
Vegetable Oil for frying

A lot of this stuff can be made at home instead of store bought, which would have been my preference but I didn't have the time. 

 Whisk your egg until frothy. 

Combine your flour and cornmeal in a bowl. 

I added 1.5 teaspoons of this seafood seasoning to my cornmeal and flour mix to give the fish more flavor. 

Get out your sharpest knife. My Captain Baby Doodle would have been so proud of me for sharpening my knife before I cut the fish.

Filet your fish into small rectangles. About 2.5 inches by 1.5 inch. Approximately, of course. This shit is not science... or is it? Has that been my problem all along? Perspective?

First cover the piece of fish in the whipped egg, then dredge it through your flour mixture to lightly coat it. 

 Now let me tell you a secret about me that you probably do not know and I did not know until a few months ago. Ready?? I am a mother fucking Boss when it comes to frying shit! Once I discovered (with help) that it is all about oil temperature (naturally, I wing that shit), I have been extremely successful in frying things.

So I just took a frying pan, filled it a little over half way with vegetable oil (enough to cover the fish completely) and turned my stove on 7. That is 7 out of 10. I fried the cod for 6 minutes once my oil was heated.
 Take a hard taco shell and put sour cream inside it. Yes, sour cream is a necessity for this recipe. Fish tacos are bland normally, you must dress them up. Put the hard shell taco inside the fajita wrap so it can catch everything falling out... and put some dry cole slaw in the shell.

Fish goes next. 

 Slather - seriously, I mean slather pico de gallo all over that thing!

Ta Da! Look what I can do! I can make fish tacos that do not, I repeat DO NOT taste like Atlantic Coast Cafe. Son of a bitch!!! Just kidding. They were actually really good when I put the salsa on top of the pico de gallo. They needed to be a little more wet, they were just a little too dry before the salsa... so that is why it is in my recipe. 

~ Enjoy!

June 27, 2014

Maryland Crab Cake

Maryland is filled with crab connoisseurs. Everyone who lives in this state has a favorite place to get steamed crabs or crab cakes, and there is always an epic battle raging between opinions. This past weekend there was a crab feast at my house in honor of Boo Berry's family who came for a visit. We ordered a half bushel of male Maryland blue crab and 2 dozen female Maryland blue crab from Al's Seafood in Essex to give his family an authentic Maryland experience.

A few hours later and multiple wounds from an epic Crab Battle, we all eventually surrendered to the massacre that was before us. We had about a dozen crabs left from the Battle of the Crab, so Boo Berry and I decided to pick them a couple days later and try to make a crab cake that would be on par with G&M, our favorite crab cake place. We were very successful; however, it was not as good as G&M. We will continue to keep our day jobs for a little while longer.

Our recipe was adapted from the Classic Old Bay Crab Cake recipe that can be found on the back of any and all Old Bay cans.

2 slices of bread, crusts removed
Almond milk
1 Tbsp mayonnaise
1 Tbsp fresh parsley
1 Tbsp baking powder
1 Tsp of Old Bay
1/4 Tsp salt
1 egg, beaten
1 pound of crab meat

By far, the hardest part of this recipe was picking the left over crabs to get 1 pound of meat. We came up at 3/4 of a pound, so we just adjusted the recipe a little bit to accommodate.

In a large bowl, break bread into small pieces. Moisten with milk.

Add mayonnaise, parsley, baking powder, Old Bay, salt, egg and crab meat.

Mix it all together. For this part, we used a mixer. Next time, we will use our hands so the crab isn't shredded as much.

Me taking a picture of him taking a picture...

Shape into 4 patties and place on tin foil. Broil on high for 10 minutes.

Note to self:Wax paper and parchment paper are not the same thing

To make this easier on yourself, use a can of lump crab meat from the grocery store. We didn't want these crabs to be wasted so that is what made us pick for an hour to get the meat. Boo Berry was stabbed violently during this picking... the crabs had a little fight left in them after all.

Voila! A crab cake that is NEARLY as good as G&M and waaaayyy better than a lot of the shit in Maryland that is passed as a crab cake.


June 5, 2014

Chhhwwwahhhhsaaant Grilled Cheese

So I've been busy shacking up this week, man has it been fun living in sin. We've made some good food this week at my house, but it has all been about convenience and time. Here in McVittlesville we have this terrific local farm that is also a grocery store. They stock mostly locally grown items, their chickens that they raise, local cheese, etc. The place is called Richardson's Farm, if you are ever in the McVittlesville area, I suggest you go for lunch and get their chicken box with the macaroni & cheese, cornbread, and green beans for sides. It is a make-you-feel-good lunch because it is cheap, it is made fresh at the farm, the chickens came from the farm, and you can sit in this great little (gigantic) green house to eat it. Well at this heavenly little place, they also have a bakery.

While grocery shopping, well technically grocery shopping... that label could be disputed because I think I may have bought more candy, baked goods, and dips than I did actual produce. Anyways, while I was "grocery shopping" I found the most delicious looking Chhhwwwahhhhsaaant (croissants for those less cultured) that I have ever seen in my life in the United States (only have I seen more beautiful in Paris). They were so soft, so buttery, so flaky!!! My mouth instantly started spilling drool. I couldn't even help it! I had to have these chhhwwwahhhhsaaants. So I bought two of them and had intended to have them for breakfast the next day... but like most things that go into my pantry, they go in there to die.

The next day I was in near crisis mode that my perfect chhhwwwahhhhsaaants were going to be stale, we had to use them IMMEDIATELY or I might have possibly died from wasting these beautifully perfect creations. I got creative and decided to make some grilled cheese sandwiches with them. Ermahgerd, grrruurrrlled churrrse. :)

chhhwwwahhhhsaaants (2)
1 avocado
sliced turkey
cheese (we used smoked cheddar from a local dairy farm called Keyes)

Spread mayonnaise (NOT Miracle Whip, everyone knows that Miracle Whip is made from the semen of aYeti and often has Yeti hair in it. Don't eat that junk, don't taint your body with yeti sperm!) on the inside of the chhhwwwahhhhsaaant very lightly, lay face down on a hot griddle.

While the inside of the chhhwwwahhhhsaaant is grilling, take a few slices of turkey (and one piece of ham if you run out of turkey) and some cheese and layer them in the pan so the cheese will melt between the meat and not into your pan. Everyone loves smoked meats, right?

At this point, your chhhwwwahhhhsaaant is toasted on the inside. Don't toast the outside, we want to preserve the buttery, flaky outside for the mind altering experience later.

While waiting for the meat to cook, have a handsome man cut avocados for you. This is obviously the best part of the recipe, as I thoroughly enjoy watching a good looking man cook.

Oh man, look at those avocado slices!!!He's as cute as he is talented.

In case you did not already know this, let me give you a Pro tip: EVERYTHING IS BETTER WITH AVOCADO. You're welcome. I know, I know, you can thank me with a piece of pie later.

After your meat has browned a little on the outside and melted the cheese inside, stack it on your grilled chhhwwwahhhhsaaant, spread some avocado on top, and VOILA!

A delicious grilled cheese sandwich that will not only make you feel cultured because of the way you say chhhwwwahhhhsaaant, but will also make you feel good because of the flaky, buttery top that melts in your mouth and makes you think that dreams really do come true.