Cucumber Cheesewich

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Oh good lord! I was  so antsy with hunger when I got home from work that I just whipped this up and decided to share it with you ASAP. A quick and easy sandwich when you need something QUICK! The brevity of this post directly correlates with the brevity in which it was conceived, created, and consumed. Absolutely nothing special here except I made it, ate it and wrote about it in less than 30 minutes. Nothing else to say.

Ingredients

  • 2 slices of bread (I used a cheddar garlic loaf I bought from a farmers market)
  • Chilled cucumber, sliced (8-10 should suffice)
  • Artichoke-garlic cream cheese
  • Black pepper

Toast up your bread of choice something proper, then slather both slicrd with the cheese. Ok don’t go overboard because your first layer will melt a bit. Layer the cucumber onto one slice, and crush black pepper over the cucumbers. Add an extra layer of cheese to the other slice of bread before completing the sandwich. Slice your sandwich in half and sink your teeth into the incredible crunch of fresh cucumber (also from the farmers market).

The warmth from the bread contrasts harmoniously with the cool cool cucumber. I don’t have any other words for this. The flavors are fresh and perfectly suited for one another and I could eat this all day…

Unfortunately I have a lot of clean up to do because my pops is visiting tomorrow for the weekend. Woo hoo! As such I might be delayed in posting for the next few days. Patience however is a virtue, and I do have some special treats to share with you if you’ll but wait.

Hmm. I think I have time for one more sandwich. I mean, the ingredients are inviting me to indulge. The husband isn’t home yet. He need not know, right?

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Blazing Brussel Sprouts

soft little cabbagesHave you ever seen brussel sprouts on a stalk? Months ago my sister in law gave me one long stalk and I instantly fell in love with the sight. I, never having eaten one before, could not immediately understand why these cute little round cabbages could be the bane of so many a child’s existence.  Instantly I developed the simplest (and ridiculously tasty) method to cooking them: roasted in the oven.  Are you surprised? Most of my go-to quick veg meals involve the oven and no work.

I have since learned that overcooking can lead to an unappealing color and aftertaste, but in my short experience with them, such a result is rarely achieved by a simple roast so I implore you to try it out and cook them this way.  If you have developed a hatred for them, I would suggest that it is merely conditioning from childhood complaints from peers and possibly one bad foray.  So just try it. Plus, I just decided to read up on them a bit and learned they have a reputation for having potent anti-cancer properties as well as DNA rebuilding properties. An expert could share more insight on that though. They are also high in protein (when coupled with whole grains, the amino acid spectrum is complete) and fiber; all good things in my book. Continue reading

Versatile Cauliflower Roast

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Another quick and easy for you. I decided to experiment with my venture to do as little in the kitchen as possible and still procure a decent if not delectable dish. What’s the easiest way? The oven. What’s the easiest no hassle food? A vegetable that doesn’t require any chopping, peeling, burning. Hmmmm… How about a whole cauliflower head? Yeah I know I’ve been on a vegetarian kick lately, and I promise to bring something sweet and decadent and super unhealthy soon! But I had to share my laziness simple trick with you.

Simply take a whole cauliflower, rub it generously with olive oil, then sprinkle with salt, pepper and dried basil. Lastly, take your favorite hot sauce (I used Nandos garlic sauce) and drizzle all over. Then just wrap in foil and place in a preheated oven at 375 degrees.

I left it in for about 35-40 minutes… And then removed it and voila! A delicious appetizer for sure. Are you wondering how to eat it? Well, some options:

1. Chop in quarters, serve as a soft side with a squeeze of lemon
2. Serve whole and let friends dig in with a fork, with a dip on the side
3. Dice it up and toss with some light pasta…
4. Or stir fry with other veggies and/or chicken or shrimp for a nice contrast of succulent and crunchy

Or do your own thing! As for me, next time I’m marinating it for a long while in some intense spices just to see what happens.

If Bangkok lived in the suburbs…

… it would probably cry itself to sleep with this as its last meal. Don’t be fooled—the amalgamation of flavors are quite honestly delicious, and I would make this multiple times, especially considering the speed with which it is concocted. That said, I can barely even whisper the connection between this would be-faux-heretical-absurd rendition of pad thai. Hardly even a reimagining, if you will. Nay, I honestly can only call it the pseudo-pad thai of the suburbs.

And why do I say this? Because we are missing: fish sauce, palm sugar, scallions, flat rice noodles (ugh! I’m ashamed to even be sharing this!), to name the key ingredients at least. Nevertheless, I had been craving craving craaaaaaving thai food for ages, but we are on a staunch mission to only eat out once a week as a means of 1) keeping to a stricter healthy regimen and 2) to stimulate smarter economical habits so that I may spend more frivolously should I actually obtain my travel visa in time to visit India with the husband in March. While that is as yet unconfirmed, alas, it doesn’t mean I can’t try to be more wary of spending habits. And thus, the suburban pad thai was born from my kitchen.

But these experiences always remind me that while authentic cuisine is vital to understanding and respecting a culture, playing hickety-spicket with the ingredients is the breeding ground for such classic genres as “Asian fusion,” “Indo-chinese” and “Whatchamacallit” (a personal favorite and frequent guest of our abode).

In truth, I just winged this out of the left side of heaven, and thankfully was blessed with a lovely dinner dish. Continue reading

2 Sides Make a Night (Tomato Couscous with Black Beans)

The saying goes, there are two sides to every story. I warrant that’s not always true, as I have seen some very octagonal tales in my day, but that is neither here nor there (the dork in me begs to ask, Where, then? but I shall refrain). Nevertheless, one recent evening I channeled that phrase into my taste-searching fingers, and approached my cupboards with dual palettes in mind. A few weeks ago, the husband and I took an excursion to North Wildwood, New Jersey (Cape May vicinity, for those familiar) and one afternoon our health-starved mouths craved for something that wasn’t nitrate ridden (like hot dogs) or fried (everything else!) so we hit up the local grocery store and bought some tomato salad couscous. Oh the praises my little taste buds bestowed upon me for that tasty treat! And the husband discovered he had a strong liking for the rice-disguised pasta. Most likely because it looks like a rice grain. So easy to please, he is.

Since then, he spoke often about us creating our own dish inspired by that; so often that mere week or so later, I decided to make it with him during this recent battle with the CH beast. But obviously it needed a companion—this stalwart dish could not trudge into the dark recesses of our bellies without a legion to conquer that grumbling realm. Furthermore, to me it just felt like a side, a lovely accompaniment to something greater, the Sancho Panza to some elusive Don Quixote of foodstuff. But… I didn’t really have the time nor the groceries for something greater, but I did have a hearty supply of black beans at my disposal. And so the great Two-Sided Tale of our dinner was born.

Our story is headed by the great desire of the husband, a spicy, tangy and cool couscous laden with ethereal flavors. But it is closely tailed by bright, raucous beans that nearly pop with mariachi tunes and zip through your senses like Speedy Gonzalez. Combined, one reaches a sublime medium. *insert sigh of pleasure here* Continue reading

Penchant for Peppered Pasta

**Happy birthday to the best mom!  Thank you for instilling and nurturing my culinary passions among so many other things!  Have a beautiful day**

Ok, I won’t say that life has thrust itself into a fiery pit of doom and despair the past two weeks, but things have been a bit awry of late; certainly has felt like a hot poker keeps stabbing its way into my business, burning holes and inflaming everyday routine with stress and worry. The blame falls squarely on a little known problem called cluster headaches, and the fact that my poor husband is dealing with them right now. As such, everything takes a back seat while we try to ensure they don’t hinder his daily livelihood. Thankfully the cycle should pass soon but until then my cooking has turned uber simple, uber healthy, and uber repetitive. I only want to make things I know won’t instigate the headaches, and since my mind can’t focus on conjuring up new things, I tend to hit the repeat button.

The first week, the kitchen wasn’t enthralling for me at all, but I did make one very simple dish that the husband really loved and I fancy as well, spicy Italian pepper pasta. (Evidently bell peppers are supposed to help alleviate the magnitude of the headaches… doesn’t hurt to try!) A quick and basic pasta dish with alya-flare, this recipe includes lots of easy herb and spice resources I have spread out in the cabinet and freezer alike. Continue reading

Tofu Coconut Curry

tofu coconut curry

Ah me, where is the serenity, the unfathomable lightness, the sense of accomplishing and participating in the wild frenzied breath of the universe without pain, only bliss?

No clue.  All I know is sometimes you just have to pull together the shards and remnants of all prior existences, the amorphous blobs of unforetold dreams, and the strands of countless prayers, combine them into a large casserole dish and bake until you’ve come up with a savory significance completely your own and completely worthwhile.  No simple task, but your only other recourse is to throw in the towel and let life lead you.  I’ll have none of that, so I’m going to rally my determination and find a way to make the ingredients in my cabinet froth into something grand.  For my sake, for the husband’s sake.  Life is too precious to let stupid obstacles crush you. (I speak in riddles mayhaps, but I’m in an incoherent mood, so play along!) Continue reading