Archive for May, 2011

Spicy Udon Vegetable Soup

The countdowns from yesterday continue:  I finished the book and played some awesome music on my radio show this morning, so now only three papers, three classes, two tests, and one lab to go!  Tomorrow, that will hopefully get down to one paper, one test, and one lab to go.  I don’t know if I’m setting my sights too high, though.  We’ll see.  My main goal for today is to finish studying for my art history test and maybe, if I have time or really need a break, to start editing my final psychology paper.  T minus six days until summer starts!  Last night, Isaac and I searched around in his room to find food that needs to be used up before next week when he has to vacate his room.  We found some vegetable bouillon, a red bell pepper, and an unopened package of udon noodles.  It seemed that we were going to be making soup.  Here’s what we came up with:

Spicy Udon Vegetable Soup

8oz. udon noodles
6 cups water + correlating amount of vegetable bouillon
1+ teaspoons of red pepper flakes
1 bunch asparagus, chopped
1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
2 carrots, diced
1 bunch scallions, chopped, withhold 2 tablespoons, thinly sliced
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1-2 tablespoons soy sauce

Cook the udon noodles according to package directions, drained, and run under cool water.  Meanwhile, in a large saucepan, heat water and bouillon until boiling.   Add a teaspoon of red pepper flakes. Add chopped asparagus and cook for 6 minutes before adding the remainder of the vegetables.  (Withhold two tablespoons of the scallions for garnish.)  Cook about 6 more minutes, or until the vegetables are no longer crunchy.  Remove from heat. Add sesame oil, soy sauce, cooked udon noodles, and serve.  Garnish with sliced scallions and more red pepper flakes, if desired.

The soup turned out really tasty–it was definitely spicy though, (like makes your lips tingle spicy), so if you aren’t a big spice person, cut down on the amount of red pepper flakes.  The vegetables were delicious and tender, though if I were going to make this again, I’d think about adding some sliced mushrooms just because.  (I’m on such a vegetable kick right now!)  It makes 4-6 servings, depending on how big the serving size is, and is really filling, not to mention healthy.  The noodles are full of protein and the vegetables contain fiber, vitamin A, and vitamin C.  Not to mention that spiciness increases your metabolism and makes you happy!  This is the perfect meal for a high stress time (finals) during crappy weather (rain).  Enjoy!

Grapefruit-Lime Soda

One week until I leave for Arizona!  I’m feeling all of the pressure really starting to pour in now: one lab, two tests, and three final papers are all that stand between me and summer break.  Three more days of class, one more classic rock radio show, and 107 pages of reading to go.  I’ve got this.  So I went out for dinner last night and ordered bean and cheese enchiladas, so I don’t have anything exciting to share on the food-making front, but I did make myself a fancy drink this afternoon to help the reading move a little faster.

Fancy drinks are something that Isaac got me started on: a non-alcoholic beverage that you’ll have with dinner on a Friday or Saturday night to spice up the meal.  I like the idea, because the only other drinks that I have are water and green tea, and as much as I like both of them, I like to mix it up every once in a while.  Isaac’s and my fancy drinks usually consist of Ye Olde Victorian Lemonade, or some sort of ginger ale/ginger beer.  One time we tried boysenberry spritzers, (yummy but a little too sweet), and sometimes we’ll have our favorite: San Pellegrino Limonata.  However, I’m working with what I can find in the fridge (since it’s now that time of the term when we should be getting rid of things), and this is what I came up with:

grapefruit juice
club soda

So I made a sparkling grapefruit and lime drink!  My ratio was 1 part grapefruit juice to 2 parts club soda, and then I garnished with three slices of lime, after squeezing their juice into the drink, of course.  I wanted more club soda that 50:50, because our grapefruit juice was really sweet and a bit overpowering.  The lime juice cut the sweetness a lot and combined well with the citrus of the grapefruit juice.  The soda was nice just to dilute the whole thing.  The drink made me wish that I was lying on a reclining chair somewhere tropical–I could almost hear the seagulls.  Alas, I was probably hearing the crows.

South of the Border Burritos

Less than two weeks until all of my final projects and papers are turned in and I am on my way to Tucson, Arizona.  It seems a little bit surreal.  To celebrate the term almost being over and the amount of work that I got done last night, I decided to join three of my roommates and watch Robin Hood: Men in Tights while eating very gooey brownies and cookie dough ice cream.  It was a wonderful way to end a day that contained: a two-mile run, a 6:00am radio show, a psychology paper, and quite a few physics problems among other things.  I’ve even decided what classes I will be taking when I return in the fall, (and none too soon since I have to register this evening).  Dinner last night was delicious.  I made vegetarian burritos.  The best bit?  No stove-top or oven cooking required:

8 burrito-size flour tortillas
14.5oz can refried beans
2 ripe avocados
1 cup frozen corn, warmed
1 cup cilantro, chopped
juice of half a lime
salsa to taste

In a small bowl, mash the avocados and the lime juice with a fork until the desired consistency is reached, (it can be a little chunky, but you don’t want huge avocado pieces in your burritos, think guacamole consistency).  On a plate, spread a spoonful or two of beans onto a tortilla, leaving a couple of inches on one side so the burrito can be easily rolled up.  Heat the burrito + beans in the microwave for 10-15 seconds.  Add a spoonful of warmed corn, a spoonful of the avocado mixture, a generous helping of cilantro, and a tablespoon or so of salsa.  Fold the bottom of the burrito up and roll.  Makes 8 burritos.

These were absolutely delicious and really helped sooth my delicious food cravings, (they get stronger as summer gets closer and the dining hall food gets more inedible).  Even better?  There are leftovers, so I will have a wonderfully delicious and filling dinner tonight as well—I’m thinking I’ll just dump some extra salsa over the top and eat the burritos enchilada-style.  Before that can happen, though, I have to sit through three classes, get in a run or some time on the elliptical depending on the weather, register for classes, and work on another one of my final papers.   Let’s not even mention all of the packing that I haven’t done…

Apples and Honey

I’ve been having a bit of a tough week.  The weather has finally gotten nicer (though today it looks as if it might rain again), but my workload has increased sevenfold.  However, I am making progress.  I am currently about 75% done with the first draft of my final art history paper, by the end of today my physics homework and my physics midterm will be over, and my final psychology paper is coming along nicely too.  I just haven’t necessarily started on the various other group papers and final papers that I need to have finished within the next week.  It’ll happen though, I’m sure of it.  I’ve got a relaxing Friday evening planned (Isaac and I are going to the orchestra) and then I have all day on Saturday and Sunday to power through.  I can do this.  Anyways, all this stress is making me crave fresh fruit and very sweet things.  So, what could be better than an all-natural, three ingredient, five minute dessert?  My vote goes for nothing.  This is the perfect snack for when I’m craving fruit but also something that could most definitely qualify as a dessert.

Apples and Honey

1 granny smith apple (or other somewhat tart apple)
3-5 shakes of cinnamon
1 tablespoon honey

Dice the apple.  Add cinnamon and honey and mix to coat.

Super easy, right?  But it tastes simultaneously so healthy and delicious that the five minutes it takes to get out the cutting board and dice the apple is completely worth it.  For whatever reason when I’m eating this the honey seems to thin out and will start creating a honey puddle at the bottom of the bowl–it is the absolute best dipping sauce for the apple chunks.  It’s like eating apple pie without the crust!  You  could probably even warm it up if you wanted to!

Hearty Vegetable Stew

So the cookies were the wonderful ending to Saturday’s meal.  The recipe that I’m about to share was the wonderful beginning.  Let me start with several stories.  Number one:  I have been having these intense cravings for vegetables.  The dining halls haven’t been serving anything leafy or green and there are only so many ways that the dining hall chefs can serve root vegetables.  And that would be great if I even liked root vegetables.  Except that I don’t.  So I’ve been trying to make do with the fruits that are being offered and taking my vitamins.  Not the healthiest option, but the dining hall isn’t giving me any choice.  Hence the vegetable cravings.  Number two:  The weather has been really crappy lately.  Let me be more specific.  The weather has been REALLY crappy.  I’m talking a high of 45 degrees and rainy.  We haven’t seen sunlight for a while.  Not to mention the fact that it’s the middle of May.

So the cold, crappy weather combined with the vegetable craving made me decide to cook a really vegetable rich stew.  I’m talking leafy greens and absolutely vegan.  My roommate had a five pound sack of potatoes from when she made Easter dinner, so I snagged a couple potatoes to use.  Isaac’s well stocked with onions and garlic, and since the end of term is approaching, I wanted to use up some of the other ingredients that we’ve amassed over the year: namely one of two 28oz. cans of crushed tomatoes.

Hearty Vegetable Stew

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
4 small potatoes, diced
1 cup vegetable broth + ¼ cup water
1 bunch Swiss chard, sliced
1 cup frozen corn
28 oz. crushed tomatoes
1 cup baby spinach
4 vegan Italian sausage links, sliced
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes + more to taste
salt and pepper to taste

Heat the oil in a large saucepan.  Add onion and cook until translucent and tender.  Add garlic and cook for three minutes.  Add potatoes and vegetable broth + water and bring to a boil.  At this time also add the thick stems of the Swiss chard and the seasonings.  Boil for about 10 minutes or until the potatoes start to become tender and about half the liquid has boiled off.  Add the remainder of the chard, corn, tomatoes, spinach, and sausage and cook for about ten more minutes, stirring occasionally.  Taste and adjust seasonings accordingly.

This recipe turned out really well, considering that I’d basically thrown together the mixture of vegetables that we had in either of our dorm rooms, with the exception of the chard, which we purchased.  We used Field Roast Italian Sausage which is actually made mostly from eggplant, onions, and bell pepper.  They’re completely vegetarian and super delicious-they had the characteristic garlic and fennel flavoring typical of non-vegetarian Italian sausage.  Of course, if you wanted something meatier, real Italian sausage would be a perfectly suitable option.

This recipe was really filling and very tasty.  Isaac enjoyed it, and it’s something that I will definitely be making again.  Coupled with the cookies from last post and another episode of Star Trek: Season Two, it made the perfect evening.  Now if only it could make my homework go away…


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