Iron Woman

I have a bunch of disjoint thoughts in this post, but it’s been a week since my last one so I felt like I had to blog. Also I’m putting off writing an essay for my Chinese film class, so this seemed like a good way to pass the time.

This weekend, instead of Weekend Breakfast, my friend and I went to the Strip District. I’ve heard about it but I’ve never been before. It actually made Pittsburgh seem kind of… I don’t know… Cool? Lots of little shops selling specialty foods. We went to a coffee and tea store where I bought about a half pound of Kahlua and Cream coffee beans, a store selling all sorts of overpriced spices (honestly, how many types of cinnamon are there?), a biscotti shop, even a pasta shop that made their own olive oil. It gets pretty crowded on Saturday mornings, and some bakeries even set up tables on the sidewalk to sell all sorts of pastries.

Do you like brussel sprouts? I’ve only ever tried them once. I was a kid, maybe 9 or 10, and I didn’t like them. But how can you really know whether or not you like something if you’ve only ever tried it once, ten years ago? So I had some. And they were delicious. I didn’t make them – my friend did, and she saved some for me to try. They were two days old and microwaved and I still liked them. Who knew?

On to the main event: the recipe. I love things that are fast and delicious. If you are like me, you will love this recipe. It’s so simple, it’s not even really a recipe. Do you know what tempeh is? It’s a “meat alternative,” made from soy, but it’s nothing like tofu. It comes in a block and it’s pretty dense; the soy beans are actually kept whole. I started eating it this summer at Google – they serve it all the time in the cafes – but this was my first time cooking with it.

Ten Minute BBQ Tempeh

Ingredients
tempeh (4 oz. per person)
olive oil
barbeque sauce

Instructions
1. Heat olive oil in a pan over high heat.
2. Add tempeh and cook each side for one minute.
3. Pour barbeque sauce into the pan (the more the better, I say), making sure to coat the tempeh evenly.
4. Reduce to medium heat and cook another 2-3 minutes.

I cut my tempeh into little squares and ate it in pita with spinach, red onions, mushrooms, and smoked mozzarella. I bet it would be good as a burger, too.

I made this a few days ago, and then again tonight. So quick and so delicious! And it fills you up, which was definitely what I needed. I donated blood today for the first time in four years, which is a major achievement for me. I’ve tried and been turned away a couple of times because my iron levels are always too low, but today the nurse told me that for a vegetarian my iron was actually HIGH! How awesome is that? Guess I’m eating right!

My Romantic Valentine’s Day

Did you do anything for Valentine’s Day? Go on a hot date with that someone special? Roses, chocolates, the whole deal? I know I did.

The Perfect Valentine’s Day Date
Step one:
Find your best girl friend.
Step two: Take a romantic moonlit walk with her to the mechanic, where her car is waiting to be picked up.
Step three: Head over to the grocery store. Stock up on everything. You really need milk.
Step four: Invite her back to your place to romantically cook dinner, because it’s now after 8 o’clock and the two of you are starving.

My mom got me a great vegetarian cookbook for Christmas, and this was my first time trying out one of the recipes. It was great! My biggest problem with vegetarian cookbooks is that they usually call for all sorts of weird I-don’t-even-know-where-to-buy-that ingredients. This one doesn’t, so poor college student me can actually try some of it out.

Butternut Squash Enchiladas with Mole Sauce
Originally from The Accidental Vegetarian. Makes about 10 small enchiladas.

Ingredients
vegetable oil for roasting
salt and pepper
~1 butternut squash, peeled and cut into small cubes (I bought mine pre-cut)
~12oz refried beans (3/4 can)
fresh chopped cilantro
10 corn tortillas
mole sauce (make your own or buy pre-made)
cheese, sour cream, etc. to serve

Instructions
1. 
Preheat the oven to 400F. Oil a baking sheet.
2. Microwave your squash for about 2min.
3. Put the squash on the baking sheet with salt and pepper. Roast for 15-20 min.
4. Mix squash, beans, and cilantro in a bowl to create a paste.
5. Fill tortillas with the bean mixture, and bake for 10-15 min.
6. While the enchiladas are in the oven, follow package instructions to make the mole sauce.
7. To serve, spoon mole over enchiladas and top with cheese.

 

NOT Machine Learning

This weekend I went to the mL Tour DC. mL stands for Movement Lifestyle, not machine learning, despite what my brain told me whenever I heard the abbreviation. It’s a group of amazing choreographers from a studio in LA (it’s actually like 15 minutes from my house) and they put awesome videos all over YouTube. In February and March they’re touring a few cities, so it’s a weekend of nonstop dance. Seriously amazing. I’ve got so much choreography rolling around my brain and I love it!

I decided to bake cookies for the drive out there – it’s about 4 hours from Pittsburgh. I’ve made these before, and I really liked them, but this time they got a little dried out. Still good, but they didn’t stay soft. I don’t know what was different… Maybe I baked them for a little too long.

White Chocolate Cranberry Cookies
Original here.

Ingredients
2 1/2 C flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/8 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 C butter, softened
1 1/3 C sugar
2 eggs
1 C white chocolate chips
4-5 oz dried cranberries

Instructions
1.
Combine flour, baking powder, soda, and salt in a medium mixing bowl.
2. In a large mixing bowl, beat butter until creamy. Gradually add sugar, then eggs one at a time, mixing well.
3. Gradually beat flour mixture into butter mixture. Stir in white chocolate and cranberries.
4. Drop spoonfuls onto lightly greased baking sheets. (They don’t grow very much in the oven, so feel free to cram ‘em on there.)
5. Bake at 350 for 10 to 15 minutes until bottoms are lightly browned.