recent cooking- when winter acts like spring

A trip to the arboretum, whilst listening to review recordings for the RD exam.

You would never guess it was supposed to be winter, right?!

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All these blossoms are beautiful, but make me scared, one because there might be another frost and they’ll die and that’ll be sad, and two because eventually they will be everywhere and there will be pollen and North Carolina will again try to murder me via allergies.

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How I eat during fake winter with warm weather:

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A lovely breakfast- Trader Joe’s multigrain waffles with a chopped up pear and lite syrup on top.

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An egg delivery from my friend Steph! As you can see, her chickens are Nasty Women- yes, that is chicken sh** all over the eggs.

But no worries, once you wash them, they are delicious. Lola agrees.

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A common misperception is that eggs are fresh and high quality if they have bright orange yolks. While bright orange yolks can be from chickens out free ranging and eating a wide variety of nutritious eats, they can also be artificially made in feedlot chickens by giving them food with pigments in them, like marigolds.

To really tell if an egg is super fresh and high quality, look at how the yolk stays centered and upright in the white.

Like this exhibit- amazing, right?! A yolk mountain!

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A summery brunch (brunch, meaning once again I didn’t get my life together enough to eat breakfast, so this was an extra-big lunch that included components of both meals): tomato soup, roasted carrots and apples (I roasted them with some leftover hard cider poured on top- THAT was a tasty choice!), and a piece of toast topped with a fried egg and some smoked mozzarella.

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A less gigantic lunch: tomato soup with some leftover roasted potatoes mixed in, and a piece of avocado toast.

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THIS! THIS WAS GREAT!

So initially when my best friend convinced me to go to Sweetgreen in DC, I scoffed. I found it offensive to pay that kind of $$$ for salads.

Buttt, guuuyyys, Sweetgreen is so so delicious. And if like I do you like your salads with a gazillion toppings, it’s not all that cost-effective to make them at home, particularly if you live alone, because you have to buy big quantities of those toppings, the excess of which can end up going bad and being wasted. Wasted along with your money!

So I’m on board with getting Sweetgreen every once in awhile when I’m up visiting the fam. The last time I got in on that, I had a nice autumnal salad that, for once, seemed fairly easy to make at home because a lot of its ingredients were staples.

So once I was back in NC, I sought to recreate it! Here’s the mise en place.

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Toppings are: fresh basil (I’d already bought for some other recipes), fancy white cheddar (since I was only buying ~3 oz to make two batches of this salad, I went for it and got a local crumbly crystally raw milk cheddar that was freaking incredible), pecans, apples, and pears.

Plus a homemade balsamic vinaigrette made with dijon, maple syrup, balsamic (obvi), and olive oil, emulsified with my immersion blender.

At Sweetgreen they put this on top of  mix of kale and spring greens, but I just used kale. It’s much more of a staple for me because it is much slower to go bad.

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I think using a big mixing bowl for salad and using tongs to toss it makes it SO much more delicious. It evenly distributes the ingredients, makes sure everything is coated in the yummy dressing, etc. A little more work/dishes but a much bigger payoff.

Also, it’s always a good day to use my adorable pink pig tongs (thanks Malindi!)

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HIGHLY recommend this salad. Super delicious.

Another free-spirited meal.

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Shredded carrots with more of that balsamic vinaigrette, topped with poached eggs (a Mark Bittman suggestion that’s so much more than the sum of its parts).

Plus, less healthily, bread and pimiento cheese 😍😍😍

I made another batch of the carrot/poached egg mixture, and served it with some leftover eggplant cutlets (bought frozen at Trader Joe’s- delicious!)

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Despite the fact that I have literally never fed Lola from the table she is ALL OVER human food. Little punk.

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The eggplant cutlets were left over from THIS amazing creation:

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  • Eggplant cutlets, baked per package directions
  • Tomato sauce mixed with crumbled sauteed tempeh
  • fresh basil (more utilization of leftovers!)
  • Sprinkling of parmesan (without this, the recipe would be vegan, and still delicious. But of course with cheese it was even more delicious!)

Finally, I was quite inspired by this post in Cup of Jo and noted that quite a few readers gave a shoutout to this recipe for pasta with Greek yogurt and caramelized onions. So I made it (halved the recipe but otherwise pretty much followed it exactly), and enjoyed it for dinner with my sister. It was indeed delicious.

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So now that I’ve done all this sharing about my meals, what has everyone else been making lately?

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