Recent Recipes

Epic Vegetable Stir Fry

Comments (0) | Friday, July 31, 2009

The only other VISTA on this campus right now is working on green initiative and sustainability. She spends Thursday mornings working at her advisor's farm and comes home with arm loads of fresh vegetables. We decided to do a stir fry last night. She provided the veggies and the wheat spaghetti for pan fried noodles, I provided my box of spices and my sub par knife skills.

It was delicious.

In soy oil, we simmered garlic and carrots with ginger powder and other spices. Then we gradually added in other veggies in accordance to cooking time. Broccoli was next, following by small onions, and finally zucchini and yellow squash. We seasoned liberally with soy sauce, cayenne pepper, crushed red pepper flakes, garlic powder, and an herb blend called Bouquet Garni. The final touches were the wheat spaghetti and some fresh basil (she also has a basil plant).

It was so good, although maybe a touch too spicy. We ate with chopsticks and congratulated ourselves on a job well done. I promised I'd have actually cooked something by the next time I posted and I have...with help, of course.

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Lunch Time Basil Concoctions

Comments (0) | Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Part of the deal with this year of service is that I live at the poverty level. The results of that, so far, is that I live where the rent is cheap and the grocery stores are non existent. I buy my groceries in the next town over. The trouble is, if I run out of something I'm basically out of luck. Or, to look at it in a more positive light, I have to result to my wits and creativity to replace it. Such is the case with the epic lunch time sandwich I made myself yesterday.
I don't currently have any deli meat, but I do have heat and eat bacon. A guilty pleasure, I know, but the bacon is delicious regardless. I decided to make myself a version of a BLT and take it to work with me. I had bacon, I had bread, and I had baby romaine lettuce. I really hate tomatoes, so I usually substitute cheese. In typical Anne fashion, I had plenty of cheese.
Unfortunately for me, my baby romaine met an untimely end at the mercy of my too cold refrigerator. It froze, turning it into a bitter, mushy, wilted mess.
I decided to proceed with the plan anyway. I cut the bread, laid out the cheese and bacon, and searched for a green. What I found was basil. I have quite a bit of basil from my mom's herb garden. I plucked a few leaves from the stem I keep in my vegetable keeper, rolled them up, sliced them, and sprinkled them on my sandwich. The BBC was born. It was a successful experiment. The basil complemented the bacon perfectly. For the record, I used fontina cheese which I believe was the perfect choice. A nice mozzerella would suffice in a pinch, though.
After my pesto disaster last week, I caved and bought pre-made pesto from the store. So far this has been a wise choice. I'm finding the pesto to be an extremely flexible sauce. I've used it on pasta (obviously), on garlic bread, and on today's lunch.
I can't claim any cooking prowess for either of my lunches, but I am very proud of the assembly and outcome of both. Today was an Italian/Southwestern Chicken Fusion Wrap. Pesto on the Range, if you will. I used a jalapeno cheddar tortilla, the pesto (of course), Southwestern seasoned chicken, and mozzerella cheese. It was delicious--spicy and basil-y. I'm finding that I'm really enjoying making myself lunch to bring to work.
Hopefully the next time I write, I'll have actually cooked something. I just ordered a new (to me) cook book this afternoon that's all about cooking for one.

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Literacy and the Pesto Disaster

Comments (0) | Friday, July 24, 2009

I am currently 5 miles away from my new apartment at what I can only assume is the nearest location with free wireless internet. What have I gotten myself into?
My name is Anne. I'm 22 and a recent college graduate. I've just embarked on a year of service with the AmeriCorps VISTA program.
There isn't a short answer for my job specifics. I work for the local private college and serve as a liaison between that institute and the local middle school. Most of my time, however, will be spent at the middle school teaching 8th grade students in their new capstone program. My "areas of expertise" are literacy and 21st century skills. This is in keeping with the relatively new state Core Curriculum.
This blog is to document that experience. It is also to document my experiences in the kitchen. I love to cook, but that doesn't mean I'm good at it. I'm still a relative novice, as today's Pesto Disaster proves.

It didn't start out so badly. Pesto, in theory, is not hard. 10 basil leaves from my mother's award winning herb garden? Check. 2 Tbsp. pine nuts? Check. 2 Tbsp. olive oil? Check. Several cloves of garlic and some Parmesan cheese? Check, check, check, and blend. My major error occurred when I went to heat my sauce. I microwaved it for too long. Instead of a paste like consistency, I had grainy chunks that were not willing to be broken apart. What did crumble was at least tasty. My recipe for Pesto Rocks, however, does not seem to be a hit. Back to the pesto drawing board.

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