Monday, October 31, 2011

Zucchini with Fancy Hats

After I baked these spherical zucchinis, I regretted not adding some jack-o-lantern style eyes and mouths. That would have made them the perfect Halloween dinner.

Since I was getting tired of eating rice stuffing, I made a red quinoa stuffing. I find quinoa by itself boring, but jazzing it up with chopped dates, tomatoes, zucchini pulp (leftover from scooping out my vessels), shallots, garlic, roasted almonds and cashews, and a heaping of cumin, cinnamon, coriander, and salt makes quinoa something that doesn't seem to belong in the health food section of the market. It also made these little zucchinis deceptively filling. I was barely able to finish 2.

Cooking the stuffing was a snap. Simply saute everything together with a little olive oil. Start with your shallots and a splash of olive oil. When the shallots are starting to turn brown, add the ground cumin, cinnamon, and coriander and a splash more oil for another minute or so. Add the chopped zucchini pulp and tomatoes, and let the mixture simmer until almost all of the liquid has evaporated. Now, stir in the roasted nuts, chopped dates, and 1/2 cup of cooked quinoa. 

I really do need to buy a grapefruit spoon, though. Using a regular spoon to depulpify the zucchini was a pain in the rear. I broke through the shells a couple of times - I guess I don't know my own strength.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Operation Weaving the Spider's Web

Sometimes, knitting from a pattern is rather boring. One needs blue prints instead.


Operation Weaving the Spider's Web started as a sketch, but ended as a sweater. Sketch by Hyperdoodle, sweater by me. Yarn picked out by Hyperdoodle because picking colors has the side effect of making my eyes bleed, and he's a boy who knows his colors. Start talking about negative and positive values and the color wheel in front of me and my eyes start to cross. Not pretty.

The yarn is Cascade 220 and Cascade 220 Heathers. Amazingly, he was nonplussed at the idea of hand washing his own vest, so no superwash for us. I did send him off with a bottle of Soak, though, to be safe.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Last Tomatoes Standing

Since I've returned from Greece, I've made stuffed tomatoes at least once a week. The first batch had crunchy, undercooked rice. The second batch was delicious, but I spent at least an hour chopping all the ingredients and referring to a cookbook. The third batch turned out just right, and thanks to my food processor, it was simple to put together.

The rice stuffing I liked the best included shallots, dill, parsley, fennel, pine nuts and obscene amounts of olive oil. Thanks to all this Greek food experimentation, I had to buy my olive oil in bulk!

While the book called for expensive risotto rice, I substituted a Chinese short grain rice. The results were very risotto-like, so my next food experiment is to use this same rice for an actual risotto (it's much, much cheaper).

This short grain rice is the same one I use for my Thanksgiving turkey stuffing with Chinese sausage and shitake mushrooms.

Since I tend to be a bit particular about matching and orienting the tomato tops with the correct tomato bottoms, I found that cutting the tomato tops almost all the way off (making a hinge) saved me time. I'll have to get a grapefruit spoon to help me hollow out the tomatoes faster, too.

Now that I got the flow of the cooking method down, I want to experiment with different grain stuffings and different seasonal vegetables.

Monday, October 10, 2011

She is Siamese If You Please

I love it when people send me pictures of their cats rocking the International Cat Hats! Amy was very kind to let me post her picture of the dashing Trixie. LOVE!!!! Anyone else got any cat hat pictures they'd like to send me?

The lack of crafting and cooking content pictures can be blamed on my e-book reader, a Nook. I caved in and bought it before my vacation because I wanted to read Game of Thrones, Neverwhere, New Moon, The Girl Who Played with Fire, and The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest, but did not want to carry all of them since traveling light is the goal. An unexpected bonus of the Nook is that I can be reading total crap, like New Moon, and the person next to me never has to know. Since the book was downloaded from my library, I didn't even have to face a librarian to check it out. Checking out a hard copy of the Twilight would have been horrifying since the librarians know me (this is what prevents me from checking out a this book , although I see it on the shelf every time).

So, no pictures because my free time not spent crafting or cooking is spent reading. I can tell you that I made a kick ass yemista (rice stuffed tomatoes) after several barely edible attempts. I also made chickpea fritters that were delicious, but looked like something one of my dogs hacked up. Er, so maybe it's good that I don't have the shutterbug right now...


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