Monthly Archives: October 2008

Two dinners!

This was one of those “we haven’t gone grocery shopping in two weeks, lets use everything salvageable left in the fridge” type dinners. Which turned out pretty well.

I wish I would have taken a picture of two of the vegetables before I cut them up and cooked them. One was a squash like I’d never seen before (calabacito). The other I still have no idea what it was. It tasted “fresh but a little dirty” both raw and cooked, but not bad at all.

I added some chipotle peppers in sauce to some refried black beans. I can’t imagine how I used to eat beans without adding any spices to them, it seems so bland to me now. Until recently I had never use a rice cooker, which usually meant I never had rice. It’s so easy now that I want to have brown rice with every meal!

I can’t make a proper burrito to save my life, I get far too over zealous and put too many things inside the tortilla, and then can’t fold it up. So I’ve decided to just pile stuff on top of the tortilla. When you’re all done eating there’s a tasty tortilla that has been soaking up the flavors of all the good food waiting for you.

So I sauteed some onions and garlic, then cubed the mystery vegetable. It was light green, sort of pair shaped with a fold in the bottom. I added the calabacito and let all of it cook for a while with a lid on to soften up the hard vegetables. When they were getting closer to being ready I added some nopales and let those cook. When everything was almost done I added some soyrizo (vegetarian chorizo) which is basically cooked already, it just needs to heat up. We topped it off with some shredded pepper jack cheese, chopped raw tomatoes and some salsa.

Next up is a quick and easy (but delicious) meal Kinsee whipped up.

I realized I don’t eat nearly enough salads. They’re so quick and easy to make, good for ya and pretty cheap. This one was lettuce and delicious cherry tomatoes with a ginger salad dressing.

We found some spinach and ricotta cheese ravioli, but had no sauce. The ravioli was done about 3 minutes after the water boiled. We added a little butter, some fresh black pepper and shredded chimay cheese which was delicious. This “sauce” turned out to be a wonderful compliment to the ravioli, anything else would have overwhelmed it and the flavor would have been lost.

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New Music: The Flying Tourbillon Orchestra

A few weeks ago I came across a band from LA called Miniature Soap on Myspace. Nice soft acoustic music. Last week I saw that other band, The Flying Tourbillon Orchestra, that the singer plays with was going to be playing at the Ken Club. A couple other bands (Swim Party and Writer) I had been wanted to check out were playing that night also.

I hadn’t even heard the band yet, but decided to go check them out. I got there late, I guess about halfway into their set, but absolutely loved the music. Sometimes I find it hard to listen to a band live without ever hearing their songs before, but this wasn’t the case with the Flying Tourbillon Orchestra, they sounded good. A little bit of pop and a little bit of rock, but not too much of either, I was really enjoying the music. Since I got there late their set ended far too quickly.

I talked to Kelli (the singer in both The Flying Tourbillon Orchestra and Minature Soap) and she said that even though they were from LA it was their first time playing in San Diego. But they loved it and had such a great time they were hoping to come back soon.

Since I only got to hear a few songs at the show I listened to the songs on their myspace page. I liked it so much I decided to buy their EP Escapements and have had the catchy tunes stuck in my head ever since.

So go listen to them on myspace, and if you do decide to buy their album, don’t buy it from the iTunes music store, where you’ll get a restricted copy of the files, for the same price you can get mp3s from Nimbit.

More food…

Another good meal

Another good meal

Last night saw the creation of another good dinner, I don’t think this picture does it justice.

Blue Cheese Quesadillas with Rosemary Parmesan Sweet Potato Fries and PB Style Black Beans.

I was vegan for about five years. I only ate dairy a handful of times, and only missed cheese on a few occasions when I wanted a good slice of pizza. But after I started eating cheese I came across blue cheese and fell in love. I’ve been making blue cheese quesadillas a lot lately as quick meals, but decided to finally throw it all together.

The quesadillas were the easiest part. Crumble blue cheese, put into a tortilla — I chose flour for these, but corn works equally as well, and gives it a bit different taste — fold and heat until the cheese is melted. Some people like to mix in some other cheese, I’ve seen recipes with Mozzarella mixed in to make it a bit more mild. But I love the taste of blue cheese so I don’t do that.

PB Black Beans are a way of preparing black beans my old housemate showed me. To add a little flavor to the beans (and make them compliment this meal a little better) I added a couple whole cloves of garlic and a bit of maple syrup. Let the beans slowly simmer on the stove for the flavors to get absorbed.

The Rosemary Parmesan Sweet Potato Fries turned out surprisingly well for my first time making them. I peeled the sweet potatoes and cut them into fry-sized chunks. I poured olive oil over them and then parmesan cheese, rosemary and salt. Mixed them all together and put them in the oven. It was about 350F, I think it should have been a bit hotter, maybe 400F to crisp them better. Cook them for about 30 minutes, stirring about halfway through. Make sure to use a big enough pan so the fries aren’t on top of each other or else they won’t brown as well. Next time I make them I think I’ll leave out the parmesan, you couldn’t really taste it, the rosemary was good enough on its own.

I paired mine with a Maker’s and water, while my dining companion chose a fine red wine.

Books

I’ve been reading Bright Shiny Morning by James Frey for a few weeks now, and I was only about 200 pages into it. Which is a sure sign that I’m not enjoying it too much, which is causing me to read a lot less than I should. So I took it back to the library and picked up The Elementary Particles by Michel Houellebecq. I’m hoping I can get more interested in this book.

I recently signed up for a book based social networking website called Goodreads. You enter the books you’re reading, want to read, and have read. It lets you rate them, recommend them to people and even offer to give away/sell them. Then you connect up with your friends (or strangers with similar interests) on the site to get book recommendations.

After I signed up for it I was looking at my “to read list”, and realized I kept a list of books I read for most of the year I lived in Santa Cruz. I read a lot that year. Then I stumbled upon this woman who is reading a book a week for a year and blogging about it, the 52 Books Project.

She just got done reading Keith Gessen’s All the Sad Young Literary Men, a book I read a few weeks ago and really enjoyed. She also enjoyed it. But what really stood out to me was this quote: “I probably shouldn’t mention it because I refuse to actually read any more than the excerpts, but The Average American Male (and its popularity) made me lose just a little hope in the male subset of the human race. All the Sad Young Literary Men redeems it, makes me realize that, while the average male exists, his existence necessitates the existence of above-average men. And there are men (possibly not only fictional) who think women are attracted to them because, “for all your problems you still read books, you were still a thumb in the eye of the way things were.” They have female counterparts, too.”

Now I haven’t read The Average American Male either. I haven’t even read the excerpts. But a friend recommended it to me, while we were talking about Bukowski (which I’ve learned to always be weary of reading anything anyone compares to Bukowski, because in my opinion it’s never as good, and almost always terrible, Fante excepted). I went out and read a review or two and realized I wanted nothing to do with this book. I hoped (and still do) that it was just perpetuating a stereotype about “the average American male”, but more and more I think it’s not just a stereotype. I obviously can’t speak for the book since I haven’t read it, but I have a feeling I know the general theme, and I just don’t like the idea of men, myself included, portrayed in such a way. And it’s a comfort to know that people recognize not every American male is like that. (Call me narcissistic, but I’m including myself in the “above-average men” category).

Looking quickly over the list of books she’s read, and those she liked, I think I’m going to follow along and get some reading ideas for myself.

Pictures from my weekend

Neighbors

Neighbors

Dice

Dice

Little Italy Festa

Little Italy Festa

Cooking and Blogging

Open faced tofu and nopales burrito with refried beans and grilled peppers

Open faced tofu and nopales burrito with refried beans and grilled peppers

I’ve been told that I don’t blog enough. It’s just that I usually don’t have much to write about out here on the internet for everyone to see.

I do however cook a lot, I don’t get too fancy, and use a lot of canned ingredients, but I really enjoy cooking. Usually making fairly simple (but delicious) meals from whatever is laying around. I didn’t like cooking until I moved in a co-op and cooked with a friend and housemate once a week for about 20 people. Neither of us had any idea what we were doing, but we just experimented, never set our goals too high, and everything always turned out ok.

One night while making dinner, Kinsee suggested that I blog about the meals I make. I thought this was a pretty good idea, so we took a picture before we ate. Well, a few meals later I’m finally getting around to writing about one. I’m not going to give exact recipes, because I feel following a recipe takes all the fun out of cooking. Nor am I going to give measurements, because I never measure anything. But hopefully if you’re sitting there hungry and in need of a little inspiration, these posts might give you motivation to get in the kitchen and experiment.

This meal was pretty simple, but turned out great.

The beans and peppers were the easiest part. Add a can of chopped chillies (juice and all) to a can of refried beans to give them a little more flavor.

The peppers, the type of which slips my mind right now (ok I’m a terrible food blogger, I’ll try to get better at this) are cut in half and sauteed in a bit of olive oil with some Mexican seasoning and lime juice.

As for the burrito. Saute some onions and garlic in olive oil until they’re brown. Add fresh nopales cut into 2 inch strips. Season with Mexican seasoning. Add some cubes of firm tofu, some more seasoning and juice a lime or two onto the whole thing. Cook it over medium heat until the nopales are tender and the tofu is slightly browned.

Warm a couple tortillas up on the stove. Cover the tortillas with the tofu and nopales. Add some chopped tomatoes and shredded pepper jack cheese and garnish with cilantro. Cover it in your favorite salsa or hot sauce.

Now you’ve got yourself a pretty good meal, fairly healthy and not too pricey, in about 20 minutes.

Las Vegas Haiku

I don’t gamble, what
am I doing here? Oh yeah!
dancing in the streets!