November 29, 2012 § 2 Comments
We may have had just a few flurries but its definitely winter here in Toronto. I almost got hypothermia on my run this morning, Ray LaMontagne and Bon Iver are on permanent rotation and last night it got dark so early that the sun was gone before I could get a half decent picture of the acorn squash macaroni and cheese that I made for dinner.
Awkwardly yellow and badly edited photo aside, this acorn squash macaroni and cheese was the absolute best. It is impossibly creamy and the acorn squash gives it the most rich, decadent flavour.
1 acorn squash
1/4 cup of milk
1 tbsp of butter
pinch of salt
4 cup of macaroni
1 cup of grated cheddar
1. Heat the oven to 450°F.
2. Cut the acorn squash in half and use a spoon to scrape out the seeds and pulp. Then place the squash halves face down on a baking tray and roast them in the oven for about 40 minutes or until the squash flesh is soft.
3. Take the squash halves out of the oven and allow them to cool. Use a spoon to scoope the soft flesh out of the squash and put it into a blender or food processor. Then put in the milk, butter and salt and blend the sauce until the squash is smooth.
4. Now bring a large pot of water to a boil and begin to cook the pasta according to the package directions.
5. While the pasta is cooking, pour the squash sauce into a small pot over medium heat. Stir the cheddar cheese into the sauce until it is melted and then reduce the heat to low, still stirring.
6. Once the macaroni is cooked, drain it and return it to the pot. Pour the squash and cheese sauce over the macaroni and stir it up.
November 8, 2012 § 1 Comment
I used to think that there was nothing better than breakfast for dinner. And then I had brunch for dinner.
The joy that is brunch for dinner, or brinner, came to me last night while I was curled up on the floor of my apartment, incapacitated by all the drafts, deadlines and group presentations that have been impeding my ability to function as a normal adult lately. I had a full fridge and an empty stomach but I just couldn’t get up off the floor for long enough to make a meal. And then, just as I was about to abandon thoughts of eating all together, I found this photo on Tumblr. It had me up on my feet and slicing grape tomatoes in seconds.
I ended up making spinach and goat cheese scrambled eggs, roasted potatoes with dijon mustard and parsley, a bit of salad with a couple of sliced grape tomatoes and, of course, toast with butter. It was so simple and just what Jason and I needed on a night when neither of has any idea what to cook or any time to cook it. I have a feeling we will be sharing a few more brinners before the semester is done.
What about you? Do you ever eat breakfast or brunch for dinner?
July 16, 2012 § 4 Comments
Alright, its time for some real talk. As you know, I’ve been a busy girl lately. But, to be honest, that isn’t the real reason that I have been slacking on the Starved Writer.
The real reason?
I’ve been in a rut. A slump. I’m going through a culinary a rough patch. The truth is, you can’t just post a handful of grapes and call it lunch. You can’t just post the same blueberries and Greek yogurt day after day, even if that’s what you ate. And you certainly can’t just post the bag of salad, dressing and croutons you bought at Loblaws because the Toronto heatwave has turned even chopping a few leaves of lettuce into a sweaty ordeal.
This cooking slump has had me a bit down so yesterday I pulled myself together, wiped the sweat off my face and made one of the tastiest, healthiest meals I have had in a long time: Rice, a medley of beans and chickpeas spiced with cumin and lots of kale.
1 tsp of olive oil
1 handful of kale, chopped
1/4 cup of finely chopped onion
1/2 cup of canned bean medley, drained and rinsed
1 tsp of cumin
1 clove of garlic, minced
1 pinch of salt
1 cup of cooked rice
1. Heat the olive oil in a pan. Cook the onion and the kale until the onion is softened and the kale is beginning to wilt. Throw in the beans and then the cumin, salt and garlic. Cook for a couple of minutes longer.
2. Heat the rice in a bowl and then add the beans and kale.
June 5, 2012 § 5 Comments
My apartment is like a sauna these days and and I can hardly even fold laundry without having to take a cold shower. Seriously, it is hot. I have a fan blowing on me as I write this. And so I haven’t been what you would call eager to turn on the stove or the oven lately.
May 15, 2012 § 2 Comments
The other day, after having craved it for about a month, I decided to make my Grandma’s creamy, comforting broccoli casserole. She (or my Mom or my Aunt Lynn) have made broccoli casserole for just about every Christmas, Thanksgiving and Easter for as long as I can remember.
However, like I said in my last post, I wanted to make my own healthy, modern take on this casserole, so I made a few changes: I decided to use the broccoli stems as well as the florets. There is no sense in wasting them when they can be used! I also didn’t steamed the broccoli for as long as my family does. I just like my vegetables a bit more firm and crunchy! Oh, and I threw in some chopped onion because, you know, I throw onion in to everything. They are good for you and they make everything taste even better! I then also used Greek yogurt instead of mayonnaise and cut the amount in half. Greek yogurt is so good for you and works just as well as the mayonnaise. I even cut the amount of cheese in half. Last, I used whole-wheat breadcrumbs on top instead of Ritz crackers.
I am so happy with how the broccoli casserole came out! It tastes just like the way my Grandma (and my Mom and my Aunt) make it, only a bit more to my taste! It is just a creamy and comforting, only a bit crunchier and lighter.
1 head of broccoli
1 cup of onion
1 can of low-sodium mushroom soup (or be even healthier and make your own from this recipe)
1/4 cup of Greek yogurt
1/2 cup mozzarella cheese
1/4 cup of whole-wheat bread crumbs
1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
2. Chop the broccoli into florets and put the stems aside. Then peel the stems and dice them. Now bring a pot of water to a boil and steam just the broccoli florets in a colander just a few minutes. You want the broccoli to still be a bit firm.
3. Now dice the onions and sautée them with the broccoli stems in a bit of olive oil. The onions should be clear and the broccoli stems should be just softened.
4. Place the broccoli and the onions in a large bowl and then stir in the mushroom soup, Greek yogurt, cheese and beaten eggs. Last, top with the bread crumbs.
5. Now pour this into a greased baking dish and bake in the oven for about 30 minutes or until the top has begun to crisp and brown.
April 11, 2012 § 1 Comment
You know those nights when the broccoli is taking its sweet, precious time roasting in the oven and the water on the stove just will not, for the love of God, boil and you’re leaning up against the kitchen counter like “If I don’t get something in my stomach now I’m going to faint.” Well I had one of those nights recently. But then I found the thick, creamy cauliflower soup that I had made a couple of days before. It was perfect. This cauliflower soup is light, which makes it perfect for an April evening, but also hearty, robust and rich enough that I did not faint with hunger before the rest of my dinner was finished.
1 head of cauliflower, cut into florets
1 white onion, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, minced
3 cups of vegetable broth
1 cup of milk
1 cup of water
1/4 cup of Parmesan cheese
1 tsp of paprika
1. Heat oven to 400°F.
2. Coat the cauliflower in a bit of olive oil and spread out in a baking dish. Cover and bake in the oven for about half an hour. Once the cauliflower is almost cooked, toss the onion in olive oil as well and place on top of the cauliflower. Cover again and cook for about ten more minutes. The vegetables should be softened but not brown.
3. Once the vegetables are done, throw them into a large pot with the garlic. Heat over medium for a couple or minutes or until the garlic is just barely brown.
4. Pour the vegetable broth, milk, Parmesan cheese and paprika into the pot. Bring the soup to a boil.
5. Remove the soup from heat. Using a standing blender or an immersion blender or whatever you’ve got to puree the soup until it is smooth.
6. Stir in as much water as you like, if any, until the soup is at the desired consistency.
April 4, 2012 § 2 Comments
I know, it is practically a cardinal sin to make a fried or poached egg and not photograph it with its yoke oozing and dripping and running all over the place. Its about as sexy as food gets and I forgot to do it. So, you know, just take my word for it: The yoke of the poached egg in the photo was a bright, sunshine yellow and it ran through my pasta like a thick, gooey sauce. It was just about perfect. And when you throw in a handful of crisp, green asparagus and a bit of Parmesan, salt and pepper, it is as close to perfect as you can get.
Oh, and if you love cooking to music as much as I do, you should give this playlist a listen. It has been on repeat in my my kitchen for the past couple of days.
Equipment: an egg poacher
1/4 box of spaghetti or linguine
4 – 6 stalks of asparagus, cut in 2 inch pieces
1 large egg
salt and pepper
1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and stir in your spaghetti. Cook for about 7 minutes, or until just about soft, but not quite.
2. While the pasta is cooking, start to poach your egg.
3. Now, throw the cut up asparagus into the pot and cook for a couple more minutes, or until the spaghetti is soft and the asparagus is cooked but still firm and crisp.
4. Drain the pasta and asparagus in a colander and serve in a bowl. Once the poached egg is done, which means firm white and runny yokes, remove it from the egg poacher and place it in the bowl as well. Top with Parmesan, salt and pepper.
March 23, 2012 § 4 Comments
Over the past month or so I have started to really push myself in my running routine. And, for the most part, this is great. The only problem is that on the days I decide to get up and run 11 km, I find that I am ravenous for the rest of the day. In particular, on the days that I run, I find myself craving pasta. (And poached eggs, but that’s a whole other post.) The other day, after one such challenging run, I came home and made up a plate of fettuccine with pesto Alfredo sauce, steamed broccoli and a simple romaine salad with cucumbers and balsamic vinaigrette. I know, I know, there’s no protein on this plate but, I can tell you, this what just what my body wanted after my run.
I wanted to show you what I ate for lunch because I know I love being able to check out what my other fitness and food fiends are eating after their work outs. I thought maybe you’d like to do the same!
And, while I’m at it, here is the recipe for the pesto Alfredo sauce that had with my fettuccine.
1/2 cup of Greek yogurt
1/2 cup of cream cheese
1/2 cup of Parmesan
1/2 cup of milk
1 clove of garlic, minced
1 tsp of cornstarch
2 tbsp of pesto
salt and pepper
1. Place all of the ingredients in a small pot over medium heat and cover.
2. Once the ingredients have all melted together, reduce heat to low and stir for a few more minutes. Break up any clumps of Parmesan. Do not hesitate to add more milk, or even water, to the sauce if it is too thick.
March 14, 2012 § 1 Comment
You know those nights when you get home from class and you have three essays to start working on and an entire book to read and you’ve barely had time to brush your hair and you don’t know what to do with half of the vegetables in your fridge and you kind of just want to sit on the kitchen floor and meditate?
Well, its nights like those that pita pizzas were made for.
They are so fast and easy to make and they can be as healthy as you like. You can use whatever kind of sauce you want (I have even used a bit of olive oil in a pinch) and whatever vegetables you have on hand. Last night, I was craving broccoli (you know you’re a health nut when) and there’s nothing I love more with my broccoli than feta, so that’s what I made.
2 cups of broccoli florets, chopped
1 whole wheat pita
1 tbsp of basil pesto
a couple slices of onion
1/2 cup of mozzarella, grated
1/4 cup of feta, crumbled
1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
2. Start by steaming your broccoli for a couple of minutes. You want them softened but still a bit firm.
3. In the mean time, lay out your pita and spread the pesto onto it. Now, place your onions on top. Once the broccoli is done, toss it on your pita as well, followed by the mozzarella and then the feta.
4. Bake your pita in the oven, either directly on the rack or on a baking tray, for about ten minutes or until the pita is crispy.
February 2, 2012 § 4 Comments
Today is a day of celebration!
First of all, my stomach ailments are (mostly) gone and I am now able to eat real food! While its true that I am still taking medication for a (god damned) stomach ulcer and will be for a few more weeks, I am feeling much, much better and have graduated from eating nothing but peanut butter toast to eating all the fruits and vegetables and dairy products I please. In other words, I am back and hungrier than ever! I’m planning on doing lots of cooking and baking this month (and in the coming months, of course!) so be on the look out for that.
Second, I am so pleased to say that today is the day that the Starved Writer blog turns one year old! Can you believe it? I certainly can’t. On one hand, a year has gone by so fast! But on the other hand, I can’t believe how far this blog has come. The food has gone from plain old French toast to the most heavenly carrot cake pancakes. From bean and cheese nachos to the freshest, tastiest guacamole in the world. From cucumber water to Earl Grey iced tea. And the photography! The photos on this blog have gone from awfully off-balanced avocado pasta and orangely-lit pumpkin cookies to a nicely-focused apple and spice muffin and natural lighting on a bowl of cilantro potatoes. I have learned so much about taking photographs of food in the past year, much thanks to my boyfriend, Sam, and to my Dad, and I can’t wait to learn even more. That is the truly wonderful thing about writing a food blog. You never, ever stop learning and growing. I want to say thank you to everyone – friends, family, Facebook followers and the few of you who stumbled upon the Starved Writer some other way – for reading. I hope that you will stay with me another year!
To celebrate today, I wanted to post one of my most loved pasta recipes, which is inspired by a meal that I had with Sam at Terroni a while back. This is a simple, fresh dish of whole wheat penne, basil pesto and lightly roasted potatoes and green beans. Enjoy!
1. Preheat the oven to 400°F.
2. Bring a pot of water to boil and begin to cook your pasta.
2. Chop the potatoes in half and toss them with a bit of olive oil. Spread the potatoes out on a baking tray and place them in the oven.
3. After a few minutes, trim the ends off of the green beans and chop them in half as well. Now chop the shallot. With a bit of oil, place the beans and the shallot on the same tray as the potatoes and continue to roast for a few more minutes.
4. Once the pasta is done, strain it and return it to the pot. Now throw the potatoes, green beans and onions into the pot. Heat the pesto and toss it with the pasta.