vegan & vegetarian (mis)adventures in food

Posts tagged ‘vegetarian’

There’s a Fast Way to Zest Citrus

After being surrounded by Blue Apron ads on the CTA, I couldn’t take it anymore so I caved in and decided to try it once.

Now, these ads are fancy as shit. They are all about heirloom products or fresh noodles or local sourcing, so I figured I should be ready to Google half their instructions. This wasn’t helped by an email I got explaining that they were sending snow peas instead of English peas this week, because who the hell knows the difference?

When I finally got the box, I felt a lot better, because this was on top:

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It’s arugula! That shit is everywhere!

And then I read the actual instructions and realized that the target demographic for this kind of stuff is people who feel morally obligated to cook once in a while, but not to a) find recipes online or b) go to the grocery store themselves, and who were also probably raised in a household where potatoes or broccoli are the daily vegetable.

So, anyway, I’m pretty sure this pasta thing is going to be delicious although it could use about seventy more cloves of garlic, but the one thing you guys should know is there’s a much easier way to zest a lemon than the thing says. 

Step 1: find your grater. This is going to be tricky because you probably haven’t used it in weeks.

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This is not a grater.

Step 2: wash your citrus fruit with soap and water.

Step 3: grate gently on the small side. Pith is rumored to taste like ass, so I err on less, ending with something like this:

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Hello Fresh

At first glance, Hello Fresh (hellofresh.com) looks like a totally ridiculous idea: get a box of groceries to make a recipe (or multiple recipes) on a day of your choice? Why not just download the recipes and go to the store, if you’ve got enough time to cook anyway?!

As a single person living alone, however, I frequently find that the portions grocery stores sell are way outsize to what I want. So from that end, Hello Fresh has the potential to reduce a lot of food waste, because you’re getting only the ingredients you need (you do have to supply things like butter/oil/salt/pepper, but not broth, toppings or other spices) in the quantity needed to make that one recipe—and there are options to get deliveries for two or four people. So far I have found that the soup which said it would provide two meals did in fact provide two meals, we’ll see if the same holds true with the risotto and Tuscan bolognese.

The price point is a bit high for home-cooked food, although not at all for dining out. For the money, I would like more freedom of choice with the recipes, and to be honest if I’m going to be cooking, I can damn well get over to the grocery store. Although it was nice to, for once, not have half a thing of unused sour cream that is going to sit there and mold because I can’t give it to the compost worms. (The little assholes seem to enjoy eating newspaper more than the table scraps, anyway.)

For the busy person who wants to make the time to cook, but not to shop and figure out all the right quantities, it’s not the worst idea, although I was dismayed to find my chives were from Colombia as I’m pretty sure we can grow chives within the States. I usually get once-a-month recipe box deliveries from Irv & Shelly’s Fresh Picks, but that service is regionally limited since they supply local goods, so if you don’t have a local co-op which does this kind of thing, you’re slightly fucked—or if you don’t want to eat whatever produce is currently in season, aka I am so very done with leeks. Granted, I’m not a huge fan of soup, either (it’s not filling!), but it tasted good, and had a better variety of spices than I’ve generally seen from Fresh Picks.

The recipes are very easy to follow and, if you do have other ingredients at home, customize. I was gratified to note that the soup recipe doesn’t even assume you have a blender. (The first time I made butternut squash soup, I had to run out and go buy one halfway through the recipe because trying to mash everything manually sucks.)

In general, like any personalized delivery service, Hello Fresh isn’t the most environmentally friendly option out there. They use disposable packaging, and of course there’s a fair amount of it, to keep the vegetables from getting bruised et al. in transit. I can’t remember how unfriendly dry ice is, but I didn’t notice any. Granted it was shipped two days prior, but I’d still expect there to be more of a frozen texture than there was.

One note about the packaging, if a Hello Fresh representative comes across this: please separate any items that need immediate refrigeration, or at least put them on the top of the box. I thought I’d caught everything but ran into a tube of sour cream that had been out for twenty hours. I’m assuming it’s good until proven otherwise, but not everyone has an iron stomach.

Anyway, this is the one week a year during which I could try this out, so the Groupon deal was serendipitous; in general, this isn’t a good option for me because a) I don’t have the time M-Th and b) if I’m home, I would rather play videogames F-Sun, which granted is exactly what I did while I was waiting for the vegetables.

Between the lack of time and the eco-guilt, I did unsubscribe, but judging by the list of questions, it looks like they are interested in improving this service with regards to a number of points I mentioned above, so hopefully it will be a viable option in the future.

Avanti Natural Inc

I couldn’t find the website listed o the spice packets for them, so I’m thinking maybe they don’t exist anymore… but better late than never, right? Anyway, there is definitely still the cafe in Costa Mesa, if you’re out there. (more…)

Hail Seitan

I love seitan.

I have no idea whether or not it accurately represents some sort of meat, and that’s fine. It’s great as a food by itself, and that’s what I care about. The first time I had it was “Mongolian BBQ Seitan” at some small restaurant in the Lakeview neighborhood of Chicago, and it was perfect for what it was supposed to be. (more…)

What is this ‘gnocchi’ stuff, anyway? Maybe I’d know if I read the recipe….

As I mentioned previously, I got in with this neat CSA that will send you a box that’s straight up geared towards a specific recipe, so you don’t have to spend about ten years wondering what to do with the three leftover miscellaneous leaves that you couldn’t cram into that other thing you were making…. Anyway, I didn’t bother checking what the box was and ended up with gnocchi.

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I used the recipe off freshpicks.com (bear with ’em, the formatting’s kind of wonky. It wasn’t originally), and I didn’t change much so there’s not much to say there. (more…)

Spanakopita; or, filo dough is the worst thing why would you do that

I spent three months in Greece, and consumed so much spanakopita I’m, well, very very very very picky about it now. The frozen aisle can go eat a pair of gym socks.

So this is the first time I’ve had it since 2009. Spoiler alert: it was good.

Mmmm...? Okay, I know the shape isn't right. One of the many benefits of cooking for one.

Mmmm…? Okay, I know the shape isn’t right. One of the many benefits of cooking for one.

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How come no one told me quiche was so easy? Also, CSA! CSA! CSA!

For those of you unfamiliar with the concept (99% of people outside the US, basically, because we are the one country I’ve been to that relies so heavily on supermarket produce), a CSA is where you buy shares in a local/regional farm or group of farms and you either pick up, or they send you, fresh produce in return.

I think I’ve made this clear, but I’m not a huge cooker. So when I saw that they had a box that was composed with a specific recipe in mind, I was like okay, I’ma get this and the fruits because to be honest if I just get produce I’m going to eat it raw. (The fruit box is perfect for me. Even if I live in a vile part of the country that, ugh, goes apple-mad in fall.)

The thing is, I’ve had this pretty stuck mental image of quiche being gourmet food. I think this is because all the fancy parties have those delicious mini-quiches. Suffice it to say that the month we ate daily at Baker’s Square, I pretty much thought that’s what high rollers do.

THE FOOD OF KINGS

THE FOOD OF KINGS

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