Slightly Cheaper Than Therapy

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Veggie Heaven April 29, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — slightlycheaperthantherapy @ 9:15 pm

During my junior year of college school I went through this psychotic phase where I actually craved vegetables.  I’m not sure how I ended up with such virtuous cravings, but I suspect it had something to do with me wanting to keep my svelt, post-wisdom teeth extraction, post-co-dependent relationship depression (yes, I was dumped the weekend after painful dental surgery) figure.  Regardless, somehow I ended up with a love of veggies.  I remember walking too and from class thinking, “man…I wish I had some asparagus.  Oh! Oh! Or maybe some broccoli…yeah…that’s what I want.”  See.  I told you I was nuts. 

As is wont to happen with all positive “vices, ” somewhere along the way my veggie cravings were derailed.  Most probably by a hot bowl of queso and a margarita.  Or three.  However, if I had the inclination to reignite my passionate love of veggies this dish just might do the trick.  It’s a Jamie Oliver recipe that The Pioneer Woman tweaked, and Y’ALL it is fantastic.  I took it to a book club meeting and everyone oohed and ahhed over it like it was a hot bowl of queso and a margarita.  Well…almost.  But seriously, truly, if your “diet” needs a kick in the pants, this dish will get you happily back on the straight and narrow. 

 Asian Noodle Salad
adapted from Jamie Oliver


SALAD INGREDIENTS:
1 package linguine noodles, cooked, rinsed, and cooled (I used 1 lb.)
1/2 to 1 head sliced Napa cabbage
1/2 to 1 head sliced purple cabbage
1/2 to 1 bag baby spinach
1 orange bell pepper, sliced thin
1 small bag bean sprouts
3 sliced scallions
LOTS of chopped cilantro-up to one bunch
1 can whole cashews, lightly toasted in skillet (I didn’t have any cashews, but I will definitely add them next time)
(Use whatever veggies you like, too. I don’t think you can add too many to this dish.)

DRESSING:
Juice of 1 large lime
8 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons sesame oil
6 tablespoons soy sauce
1/3 cup brown sugar
3 tablespoons fresh ginger, chopped
2 cloves chopped garlic
2 hot peppers or jalapenos, chopped ( I used 1 seeded serrano pepper)
More chopped cilantro-LOTS

Toss salad ingredients. Whisk together dressing ingredients and pour over salad. Mix with tongs or hands and serve on platter.  Dressing keeps up to three days before serving, WITHOUT cilantro.

*I ate the book club leftovers the next day for lunch and the salad was still super yummy.  Not a slimy vegetable in sight!

**A coworker of mine added some grilled shrimp to make it more of a main dish salad and got rave reviews. 

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Saturday Nights, Sunday Mornings April 11, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — slightlycheaperthantherapy @ 8:59 pm

About two and a half weeks ago, when I was almost out of my anti-writing funk, I had planned out the most clever foodie post ever.  See it was going to marry my two loves–food and music, and…and!! the timing was going to be perfect.  I was going to post it the day the new Counting Crows album hit the shelves.  But then…the funk held on for a bit longer and I just kept putting it off.  I’d almost given up on it until I popped in the new disc this morning and I remembered why I was so stoked about this blog idea in the first place. 

See, the thing is, I love Counting Crows.  I can say without an ounce of exaggeration that there isn’t one thing on this planet (aside from The Hubby) that makes me happier than their music.  It is my solace and my kick in the ass.  My inspiration and co-conspirator in melancholy.  It satiates me while still keeping me searching for more.  

Since I’ve all but abandoned my personal blog, I had to figure out a way to talk about the highlight of my spring here, and the title of the disc, Saturday Nights, Sunday Mornings, provided me with the idea.  If you’re ever in Austin (on say a Saturday night…) you must visit Trudy’s for a Mexican Martini.  It’s really more of a margarita with some martini-esq ingredients, but no matter.  They are mind-blowing (in more ways that one, which is why you’re only allowed 2 per visit).  Since you all obviously can’t get here at once to enjoy a Trudy’s rita-tini (though our traffic gurus would argue a good amount of you are trying), I’ll give you my second favorite rita ever:  the Chili’s Presidente Margarita.  These (which can be found all over the place) were a staple in our Saturday night party circuit during college, and lucky me got her little ol’ hands on the recipe.  There’s no limit on these puppies so drink up! :o)  But do be responsible enough to pass the keys to a DD before the night’s end because you’ll need the help home. 

Then, on Sunday morning (or mid-afternoon) when you wake up wishing to god you’d never even heard of Jose Quervo, get yourself a big fat breakfast taco. Like queso they’re an institution in Austin, so you can order them at damn near any restaurant in town.  But the best part about BTs is their incredibly medicinal, anti-hangover properties.  Grease and bread in handy to-go packaging.  It flat out cannot be beat.  Anyway, my favorite version is the migas breakfast taco.  It’s super simple to make, even when you’re feeling lousy.  And they are so, so good, even folks outside your house will come over looking to see what in the heck smells so good.  See:

So there you have it.  My foodie tribute to Saturday Nights, Sunday Mornings.  Now go buy the disc, drinks some margaritas while giving it a spin and then wolf down some breakfast tacos the next morning.  It will be a perfect weekend.  Promise :o)

Presidente Margaritas

1-1.5 oz. of Sauza Commemerativo Tequila (I’m a pansy these days so I just use 1 oz.)
1/2 oz. of Cointreau
1/2 oz. of Presidente Brandy
3 oz. of sweet & sour mix
A splash of Rose’s lime juice

Combine in a shaker, add ice and shake well.  Serve in a salted glass.

Migas Tacos

2 tablespoons of butter (the real stuff guys.  please, no margarine!!)
1/4 of a sweet white onion, finely chopped
1 small tomato, coarsely chopped
1 – 2 seeded jalapenos (again…pansy that I am, I go with just 1)
3 large eggs
crushed tortilla chips (add as many or as little as you like.  I like lots. )
1/4 c. mexican blend shredded cheese
3 taco-sized flour tortillas, heated

Melt the butter in a skillet over medium heat.  Add onions and sautee until translucent.  Do NOT carmelize.  Add tomatoes, jalapeno and crushed tortilla chips and sautee a bit longer until slightly soft.  Becareful not to burn the chips.  (If you’re worried about the onions cooking too much, add the tomatoes and jalapeno when the onions are about halfway cooked.)  Mix in the eggs and cook till softly scrambled.  Remove from heat and stir in cheese until it’s completely melted.  Divide egg mixture into thirds and top tortillas.  Roll up and serve with queso (yes, more cheese!) and salsa.  If you’re into Hair of the Dog, a bloody mary would go well with this, too.

 

I’m back!! April 2, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — slightlycheaperthantherapy @ 4:15 pm

 

Has it really been almost a whole month since my last post?  Oh man am I embarrassed.  I’ve been telling myself for, well, I guess almost 4 weeks, “Oh it hasn’t been that long…a week, maybe two at most, since I last posted.”  Geez.

 The thing is, and you can probably tell by how a tend to drone on and on about something, I really like to write.  I even went to a smarty pants conference at the University of Nebraska one summer to make me a better writer.  But sometimes I just don’t want to do it.  Something in me crosses its arms, stamps its foot and says, “Nope.  Not gonna do it.”  And I don’t.  Till I start to feel like something’s missing and then I remember, “oh yeah…I haven’t written in awhile.  I should really get back to that…” 

So here I am after an abrupt writing hiatus and I hope that I haven’t lost all 5 readers that I’d worked so hard to earn.  If 2 of you are left I’ll be tickled.  :o)  And to make amends I’m bringing you a delicious and (!!) easy recipe.  This one comes from the grand chefs at Bon Appetit. (Yes, I promise it’s easy.  I wouldn’t lie to you!)  The Hubby is on the fence about this one, but I dig it.  I was really, really, really hoping that it would turn out something like Chipotle’s carnitas, but sadly it didn’t reach those mythical heights.  But!! It’s a darn good second.  Especially with some cheese and avocado.  Oh and some salsa that I have good reason to believe is the EXACT recipe from a well known restaurant.  I think it’s called Billy’s…or Silly’s….or maybe it’s really Dilly’s…something like that.

Slow-Cooked Carnitas Tacos

2 lbs. of boneless country-style pork ribs or pork shoulder (All I could get my hands on was bone-in shoulder, so I went with 2.75 lbs.) cut into 1.5″ pieces*
2 tsp. salt
2 tsp. ground black pepper
2 tsp. dried Mexican oregano
1/2 large onion, cut into 4 pieces
1 avocado, halved, pitted, sliced
fresh cilantro sprigs
Corn tortillas**

Toss pork in the bowl of a slow cooker with salt, black pepper, and dried oregano to coat.  Place onion pieces atop pork.  Cover slow cooker and cook pork on low setting until meat is very tender and falling apart.  About 6 hours.

Using a slotted spoon, transfer pork to cutting board.  Discard onion pieces.  Using fingers, shred pork.  Transfer carnitas to a platter and place avocado slices, cilantro and any other veggies alongside it.  Serve with tortillas.

*Okay so I totally missed the “cut into 1.5″ pieces” direction until about 5 seconds ago when I typed up the recipe.  I just threw the whole piece of meat in and let it do its thing.  Maybe cutting it up would help it reach the greatness of the Chipotle carnitas. 

**I like flour tortillas, so I used those. 

Billy’s/Dilly’s/Silly’s Salsa


(What can I say?  Red soup doesn’t photograph well with my point-n-click.) 

1 can of Rotel
1 14.5-oz. can of peeled whole tomatoes, plus the juice
1/4 c. diced onion
3/4 tsp. garlic salt
1/2 tsp. cumin
1/4 tsp. sugar

Dump all the ingredients into your food processor and blend until it reaches the consistency you like.  For The Hubby, that would be one step above soup.  Chill and serve.