Services: Full Circle — Organic Produce Delivery

Oh! I just happened to see that Full Circle is having a LivingSocial deal right now and thought I’d take the opportunity to recommend them highly! Full Circle was kind enough to give me a six month subscription for free a while back, which was totally amazing. I hadn’t really done the CSA box thing (though Full Circle is apparently not a true CSA, which is ok), and Full Circle was an amazing introduction.

If you’re thinking about getting weekly fresh, organic produce delivery and you live in the delivery areas around the SF Bay, try them out. And buy their LivingSocial deal to get a discount!

full circle

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Recipe: Tzatziki Sauce

It doesn’t matter that I’m not entirely sure how to correctly pronounce this word, it matters that tzatziki sauce is amazingly delicious, and now I can make it at home with relative ease. Tzatziki sauce, aka Cucumber Yogurt Dip, is a Greek sauce that is often served in gyros or on falafel. It’s delicious, and not even horrible for you. Imagine such a thing.

tzatziki

As my natural foods store does not sell pre-made tzatziki (anger!), I have been forced to fend for myself. I have now made this dip myself a half dozen times, and it’s really good. And my favorite thing about it: it’s nearly impossible to mess up.

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Recipe: My Boyfriend Taught Me to Make Salad Dressing

Who knew cooking could be for regular mortals? Fine, I won’t pretend that making salad dressing is “cooking”. But still, I feel like Nigella Lawson up in here.

People hear I have a food blog and always say something along the lines of, “OMG, what’s your favorite thing to cook*?!” And I’m like, “toast!”

And for the past ten years (literally) I have stockpiled the Balsamic Vinaigrette salad dressing from Trader Joe’s since I love it so well and never ever seem to get sick of it on the myriad of salads I have jouously consumed over said decade. This salad dressing enables me to make an entire dinner (composed of a salad) in approximately five minutes, which is my general threshold for patience when making food for myself. And so, loyal salad dressing, I have enjoyed you for many moons.

Trader Joe's Balsamic Vinaigrette Salad Dressing

Trader Joe’s Balsamic Vinaigrette Salad Dressing

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Storytime: A tale of two (dozen) cookies

Today, I have a cookie tale to tell to you. It is filled with action, adventure, sorrow, and sweet victory, as every good tale should be.

On Sunday, I decided to make cookies for my fellow work comrades, as they all had a deadline on Monday that they have been working countless nights and weekends to meet. Imagine ten men and women sacrificing their precious time with their children, their friends, and televised football games in order to slave, seemingly unendingly, to meet an impossible deadline. Some fell ill, others went insane, and one man’s wife forgot her husband’s name entirely.

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Recipe: Sweet Onion Dip

I had a little shin-dig at my apartment a few weeks ago; my good friend, Natalia, is going to Colombia for four months and we wanted to see her off properly. And, apparently, to me, “properly” means “like a crazy person who can’t judge food quantities like a normal human”. Like my mother before me, I made enough food to feed three times the number of people who came to my house. But, this was one of the more successful recipes and so I thought I’d share (read: steal).

sweet onion dip from marthastewart.com

sweet onion dip from marthastewart.com

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Colombian New Year’s Feast

For NYE this year, I had the privilege of enjoying a Colombian feast cooked by my favorite Colombian friend, Natalia. She claims to be a mediocre cook, but I’ve seen no evidence of this mediocrity. The food we had last night was awesome. So awesome that I was too busy eating to properly photo-document the experience. But, this was the end result:

Colombian Feast

Colombian Feast

Item 1: Arepas

This is Natalia’s specialty. She’s made them for us before and they’re fun and yummy. Have you had a pupusa? It’s like that. A small, corn flour patty that is pan grilled (the way Natalia makes them) and then eaten by cutting in half and stuffing with veggies, cheese, and/or meats like a pita.

Arepas fresh out of the pan

Arepas fresh out of the pan

Natalia made “sweaty chicken” (don’t ask me, I don’t eat chicken), mushrooms, grilled peppers and onions, corn with string cheese*, with guac and a butternut squash/sun-dried tomato/goat cheese spread. It was all really, really good.

Item 2: Cheese Balls (aka bunuelos)

These little gems are deep fried balls of corn flour, egg, and grated queso fresco. Nick (Natalia’s husband) describes them as cheese donuts, which is relatively accurate. They’re fluffy and delicious. Mmmm… fried things.

Bunuelos = cheesy donut balls

Bunuelos = cheesy donut balls

Item 3: Fried Plantains

This dish is genius. I did not take enough photos, but read the directions carefully; it’s so easy and they’re so good:

  1. Take unripe plantain (the greener the better), peel, and slice into about 2″ long pieces. 
  2. Place plantain pieces in boiling pan of oil until they’re cooked all the way through. This will take maybe 15 minutes or so.
  3. Take the plantains out of the oil and while still hot, mash each slice into a flat piece with a couple rolls of a rolling pin (or coffee mug). Don’t roll so much that they fall apart.
  4. Set aside to cool. Don’t stack them ‘cuz they’ll stick together. Also, put some salt on them.
  5. Using that same pan of oil, fry the flattened plantain slices until they’re golden brown.
  6. Take them out and serve to your friends. Accept compliments.
Plantain slices fried once and squashed, ready for the second frying

Plantain slices fried once and squashed, ready for the second frying

These are SO GOOD. They are good by themselves, or with a splash of goat cheese, or covered in guac, or with all the same fixins as were on your arepa. Amazing. And easy, too.

So that was our New Year Colombian feast. Not a bad way to end 2012. Happy 2013!! Also, this was us after we were fed and happy:

Happy feasters. Or, Mala and her friends. Chef Natalia is on the left.

Happy feasters. Or, Mala and her friends. Chef Natalia is on the left.

*Corn with string cheese. By far the most unsuspecting part of the meal. It was amazing. Cut corn off the cob, put it in a pan with some butter. Then slowly stir in an egg so that it coats all the corn and stays light and fluffy. Then string some string cheese and melt that in with the corn. Ridiculously good.

Left Over Mac ‘n Cheese

…and I don’t mean the good home-made kind. Hear me out.

So I had boxed macaroni and cheese last night. Stop judging me. I realize this is a food blog, but it’s my food blog so keep quiet. Also, it’s actually a restaurant review blog; it’s ten kinds of pathetic up here in my own kitchen. As you probably know. Moving on.

Trader Joe's brand boxed mac 'n cheese with: peas, beans, avocado, parmesan cheese.

I put peas in my mac and cheese. See? Health food. Today I have left over macaroni and cheese and peas. And no microwave*. What’s a gal to do? Make a numbered list, of course:

  1. Saute some green beans in a pan. Don’t be scared, just put a drop of olive oil and some salt in a pan with your beans.
  2. After some amount of time, put in your cold mac ‘n cheese ‘n peas with the beans.
  3. Let everything kick it in the pan. Stir some. Turn that heat up nice and good.
  4. Here’s the key part: the little macs start, like, browning in the pan. It makes them kinda crunchy. It’s amazing.
  5. Everything’s been in there a few minutes. The macs are browning. Everything is smoking hot. Now: sprinkle some Parmesan cheese on top. BAM! Like Emeril ‘n shit.
  6. Pour everything in a bowl and lecture your cat not to jump on the stove because sometimes it’s hot. Like now.
  7. Another key step: cut up some avocado and put it on top. Because why not? Avo is good on everything. Everything.
And then you have a weird, bastardized version of crappy boxed mac and cheese that’s way better than actual crappy boxed mac and cheese.

It was kind of amazing, actually. Maybe just compared to things that normally come out of my kitchen, but seriously, the crispy macs were all salty and good, the extra cheese was (and always is) an excellent decision, and the avocado actually confused me into thinking I might actually know something about food.

Which I don’t. But I did like eating left overs this time. Good job, me.

*No microwave partially because this is a new apartment and I haven’t convinced myself to buy one yet, and partially because it will take up all my awesome kitchen counter space if I were to get one. And because I don’t really use one. The jury’s still out.

Conversation with My Stove

Summary: New apartment. First use of stove in this apartment. First use of any stove in months.

Conversation I just had with my stove:

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Me: You’re making weird noises, what does that mean? Are you on? I guess so, the big coil at the bottom is all red.

Stove:

Me: Ok, it looks like you’re heating up my pizza. How the fuck do I use this timer? Forget it, I’ll just use my phone.

Stove:

Stove: BEEP

Me: Oh god, are you going to blow up? Why would you beep? Did I set a timer by accident or something? Why is the coil getting dimmer?

Stove:

Me: Oh. I’m a tard. You’re pre-heated. To the temperature I set you to. That’s what the beep was for. Now I’m supposed to start cooking my food.

Stove:

Me: I am not good at this game.

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I think the stove may have rolled its eyes at me. I don’t really blame it.

Blog-related note: Restaurant reviews to re-commence soon; I haven’t gone entirely insane (yet).

I made this pie.

Yes, it’s true. I made a pie. It was this one, here:

Chocolate Cream Pie a la Angie

I made it for Christmas, for my family. Like a normal person might do. I even created it under the loving tutelage of my mother, who refuses to do such things anymore but has no problem telling me how to do them.

And my family complimented the pie. “Wow, this is a good pie, Angie” “You made this, Angie?”

“Yeah, I made it. I’m good at cooking.”

Chocolate cream pie is about the easiest dessert to make. Ever. I guess pudding would be easier because that would have been the same recipe, just giving up halfway through. Regardless, here’s the recipe for (Angie’s Mom’s) Chocolate Cream Pie:

Ingredients:

  • Two big boxes (or one big box and two small boxes) of Jell-O Chocolate Instant Pudding. It must be the instant kind. I’m not actually even sure why, but my mom is very adamant about it; don’t mess with mom’s instructions.
  • Quart of whole milk.
  • Two pints of Lucerne heavy whipping cream. Per mom: must be Lucerne brand, must be heavy whipping cream, not just regular.
  • Half cup of sugar.
  • Teaspoon (or “glug” as my mom calls it) of vanilla extract.
  • Good or not as good chocolate bar to grate up and sprinkle on top.
  • 10″ pie crust.

Instructions:

  1. Using only 2/3 of the milk that the Jell-O box tells you to use, place the milk in a large bowl.
  2. Whisk in Jell-O pudding and stir for two minutes or whatever the Jell-O tells you.
  3. After two minutes the pudding will be done, and using less milk made it less runny and more chocolaty, which is better for pie. And probably anything.
  4. Put the chocolate pudding into the pie crust.
  5. Lick the pudding spoon and bowl.
  6. Pour two quarts of heavy whipping cream in another bowl. Doing this in the sink makes slightly less mess.
  7. Pour a half cup of sugar and a “glug” of vanilla into the cream.
  8. Using a mixer (My mom has a mixer and if you don’t, I do not have alternate instructions for you, sorry. I hope you read this in its entirety before actually putting these things in a bowl.), start mixing the liquid in the bowl. Use the fastest setting on the mixer*.
  9. Keep mixing.
  10. Ask your mom when to stop mixing.
  11. Ok fine, stop mixing when the cream thickens and your mixer starts to struggle a bit in the goo. Taste it to see if it tastes like whipped cream. It should stick on the mixer tongs a bit. If you mix too much, however, it will turn to butter. At least that’s what my mom says**; she always stops me before then because she’s a good person.
  12. Slather as much whipped cream on the pie as humanly possible. If you think you’ve put too much, just put a bit more. Think Close Encounters of the Third Kind. Also, please get that joke.
  13. Shave some of your good or crappy chocolate bar (I may or may not have used a left-over chocolate Easter bunny leg) using a grater and sprinkle over the top of the whipped cream so it looks like you’re totally pro.
  14. Lick mixer tongs and bowl.
  15. Present pie to family and/or friends. Accept compliments.

I somehow managed to turn the easiest recipe ever into a fifteen step procedure. That’s ridiculous and I apologize. But now you know. And knowledge, they say, is power.

*Ok, I use the highest setting on my mom’s 1970’s mixer. (Dude, that picture is almost exactly the one she has, weird!) If newer, space-age mixers have, like, a supersonic setting or something that mixes faster than the speed of light, maybe you could go to a medium speed. This is subjective; just mix the shit fast, ok?

**Maybe that’s like how parents tell you that if you sit too close to the tv, you will go cross-eyed? My mom usually doesn’t lie about stuff like that though, so I’ll believe her.

Recipe: Kale Chips

After a short hiatus, it’s recipe time!! Have you had kale recently? I’d honestly never really heard of it until the Taminator (omg, that’s the best nickname, I hope I’m the first one to think of it, Tami) brought it over for Girl’s Night. This is, of course, Tami from Everyday Bites, mentioned also previously in the delicious Pesto Pita Pizza post.

kale

KALE!

So, kale! It’s sort of a fancy lettuce-type food that’s a bit tough and frilly. It seems to be uber “in style” now, like bacon and macaroons. See below photo of Boyfriend with Kale.

kale

Boyfriend with head of kale.

Kale, when toasted lightly in the oven, turns a bit softer and (if you do it right) gets a bit crunchy. And then eating it is like nibbling a fun crunchy snack instead of being forced to consume vegetables because they’re good for you. Actually, I love vegetables, so I never have to be forced. But still, this is a great way to eat kale.

Ingredients:

  1. Kale
  2. Olive Oil
  3. Salt
  4. Pepper if you like pepper

Steps:

  1. Heat oven to broil. Or 350. Or 375. Just turn the dang oven on, this isn’t rocket science.
  2. Rip the kale up into bite sized pieces and put in a strainer.

    kale

    Kale in strainer.

  3. Wash kale.
  4. DRY kale. This is important and keeps it from being soggy. Use a spinner or paper towels or whatever you’ve got.
  5. Put kale in a big old bowl and sprinkle with olive oil, salt, pepper and whatever other spice you think might be yummy. Don’t over oil, or, again, you risk soggyness.
  6. Spread kale evenly on a baking pan or baking sheet.

    raw kale

    Kale waiting to be baked.

  7. Put kale in the oven for, like, 5 minutes. Watch them closely because they will start burning quickly. You want them crispy and browned on some of the edges, but not completely on fire. If you take them out too soon, they’re fine but they are a bit tougher and not as crunchy. I know because I’ve erred on both sides.

    cooked kale

    Cooked kale looks just like raw kale. Just cook it and trust me.

Healthy, simple, delicious! Yum! For another take on kale chips, see the Runner’s Delight version!