Category Archives: Food

Stuffed summer squash

You know summer’s closing in when I start making stuffed squash again.

Stuffing squash is hardly an exact science. Any summer squash should do; I used zucchini last time, but I’ve also used globe and pattypan before. I’ve used brown rice and I’ve used bread crumbs (but never both together), and I often include cheese, although it’s not necessary. But no matter what, there’s always some vegetables, although the specific ones can vary depending on what’s in the fridge.

I actually like stuffed summer squash best when it’s vegetarian, but as I’ve mentioned before, T tends toward meatier dishes. Continue reading

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Vegetarian cottage pie

I’m not really into the whole “meat substitute” idea – for example, I love tofu, but only when it’s not trying to masquerade as something else. So I don’t usually bother trying to convert a meaty dish into a vegetarian one.

But once in awhile I go for it. Sometimes it fails, sometimes it doesn’t. One of my recent successes? The cottage pie I tried last week, using lentils instead of ground meat.

This is not the first time I’ve subbed in lentils for meat, but this attempt probably produced one of the best results. Texture’s a bit different, of course, but it’s still wonderfully satisfying.

It is entirely possible to make this vegan, since the only dairy is a sprinkle of cheese and a couple tablespoons of butter… and I might even omit the cheese next time.

If you’re starting with dried lentils, about one cup will yield three cups cooked. You can cook them in veggie broth if you like, but water should work fine too. I recommend prepping your veggies while the lentils are cooking.

Canned lentils should work, though I haven’t tried that yet.

Continue reading

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A different kind of packed lunch

If you’ve peeked through the food posts in the archives, you probably noticed the bento-inspired lunches I’d posted back in 2008.

I fell out of making this kind of lunch after I started living with T. I’m not entirely sure why, but I think a large part of it is that when I lived alone, I had no shortage of room (or containers to store multiple batches of leftovers). But now that I’m living with someone who has a rather different view on meals than I do? We’ve got to compromise on what we buy and keep… and make for dinner.

Dinner’s the only meal we share everyday, both in the sense of “eating the same food” and “eating at the same time”; this is due to our different work schedules, meal preferences, and nutritional requirements. So, it’s usually a bit of a compromise. He makes an effort to include more veggies when it’s his turn to make dinner. (Even though half the time it’s just bagged salad greens. But it’s the thought that counts!) Me, I’ll try to include some meat, even if it’s just a small amount.

This means if I want to keep eating vegetarian meals regularly, I need to have them for lunch more often than not. So I’ve started making big batches of some sort of vegetarian meal on Sundays, and eating the leftovers throughout the week.

Last week, it was a batch of quinoa salad (which is actually vegan!). The week before that, it was spicy tofu and rice. This week, I’m going to try making a vegetarian cottage pie – we’ll see how that turns out. Recipes to come after a bit more tweaking!

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Frying up some rice

I love fried rice.

My absolute favorite is sinangag, or garlic fried rice. Not surprisingly, I grew up eating it made with white rice, but I find it so much more satisfying with brown rice somehow. Eaten alongside a fried egg and sometimes a couple of bacon slices, it makes a fantastic breakfast.

However, I am also incredibly partial to garlic rice fried with egg and bacon, and veggies besides. A complete meal in and of itself, and one that’s actually pretty balanced.

This, of course, includes the aforementioned garlic, bacon, and egg (three cloves, two slices, and one beaten, respectively). I also used green onion, a bit of regular onion, carrot, red bell pepper, and some frozen green peas when I made this last night, but you can use what you like; this is just what we happened to have on hand. Seasoned pretty simply, with just salt, pepper, and a bit of toasted sesame oil.

Made for a lovely dinner, with enough leftover for tonight!

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A little bit of this, a little bit of that

I’m pretty comfortable in the kitchen, and I’m a decent home cook, but really, that’s about it. I don’t really have any signature dishes, I think. And I don’t really specialize in any type of cuisine, either. Rather, I tend to eat and cook a little of everything.

(This isn’t a bad thing. Mostly, it’s a disclaimer, so that you don’t expect anything fancy from my food posts!)

But anyway, the “little of everything” part? Not too surprising at all, given my upbringing and family and personal histories. I was exposed to a variety of tastes and ingredients and cuisines from an early age, and that tends to carry over into my meals.

For example, let’s take a look at this dinner I made recently. The meat portion is my take on bistek tagalog (Filipino-style beef steak). Unlike either of my parents, I tend to cut it in bite-sized pieces before cooking, mostly because I fail miserably at cooking whole steaks. And, half the time I have more onions than meat, because I’m a sucker for cooked onions. But these are pretty small variations; I still use basically the same marinade, which is the important part, really.

Bistek tagalog is a pretty clear nod to my Filipino heritage, as is the fact that I eat it with rice. (Although I favor short-grain brown, rather than the white rice I grew up with.)

However, the sauteed kale on the side? That’s a nod to… well, some other cuisine. I’m inclined to think American, because I don’t personally know many non-Americans who saute greens. But then, I don’t have a hugely international social circle, so that’s not much to go on.

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