Butternut Squash, Carrot, Apple Soup

I think I’m only going to make soup until Mary Ellen gets un-kidnapped. It’ll be like a hunger strike, but I’ll still get to eat soup, which sounds nice. I thought about starting a fundraiser for her ransom money, but I was too hungry from my hunger strike idea, so this will have to do.

I cleared out the rest of my garden this week and found  several butternut squash as well as a few carrots I had missed earlier in the season. I started shooting photos while making this soup, but my camera died, and I couldn’t find the charger. You’re all in luck, though, because in addition to going to school to be Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman, I have also completed extensive coursework in courtroom illustration. So, I was able to quickly and accurately draw the important steps of this recipe. I imagine you won’t even notice the difference between my exceptional photography and illustrations.

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I had to cut off a section because a squirrel took a bite of this squash. Fucking squirrels.

This soup was loosely inspired by this recipe

Soup in bowl

Ingredients

Butternut squash

Two carrots

One apple

Small shallot or leek

Garlic (about one clove or some garlic powder)

Fresh thyme (about 2 tsp)

Fresh sage (about 2 tsp)

About 3-4 cups vegetable broth

Olive oil

Coconut milk

Salt and pepper to taste

soup in pot
In practice, you’ll want to chop the carrots and apple prior to placing them in the pot, I just left them whole for the sake of the composition

Instructions:

Cut butternut squash in half and scoop out seeds. Brush with olive oil and then lightly salt and pepper it. Roast face down on a baking sheet at 400° until soft (about 45 minutes)

Once done, let cool for a few minutes until you can handle it. Scoop out all of the squash into a bowl.

Cut apple and carrots into bite sized pieces

In a large pot, saute garlic and leeks (or shallot) until soft and fragrent. Add carrot, apple, cooked squash, thyme, sage, and vegetable broth. Simmer until apples and carrots are soft )about 15 minutes or so. Add coconut milk. Blend with an immersion blender.

Garnish with salt and pepper, per illustration

 

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Dig in!

Serafina

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Minestrone

Oh, hey guys! Sorry, was that a microaggression? I want to clarify that I wasn’t assuming anyone’s gender there. I honestly couldn’t care less how many penises or butt holes you have.

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I felt guilty sorting out the green tomatoes, but don’t worry, I held each of them to my face and let them know that I’d eat them once they changed the essence of their being

Anyway, I don’t know if y’all noticed, but it is fall (oh, I just now got why southerners say y’all, it’s to avoid the microaggression!) I’m so, so sorry this blog doesn’t have any pumpkin recipes yet. It’s not going to change today. What will change is the number of soup recipes we have to offer you. Thanks to my productive garden this year, and the fact that there isn’t an Olive garden within 25 miles of me, I decided to make my own minestrone.

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I’m pretty sure that my distance to the nearest Olive Garden qualifies my area as a food desert

I adapted this recipe from many, many minestrone recipes. I also only used what I had on hand since I really didn’t feel like going to a grocery store. I also think this is one of the few places that whole wheat noodles would work really well.

Ingredients

Olive Oil

Onion powder (or about ½ an onion if you don’t hate onions)

Garlic powder (or a few cloves of garlic)

1 zucchini, chopped into bite sized pieces

Several cups of fresh tomatoes, diced (or a can of diced tomatoes)

About 6 cups of vegetable broth

A handful of fresh basil or 1-2 tsp dried

1-2 tsp dried herbs de provence spice blend

1 tsp oregano

1 can of chickpeas

About 8 oz pasta

Parmesan cheese

Salt and pepper to taste

Optional veggies that often go in minestrone, but that I did not have on hand: carrots, spinach, potatoes)

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The large pile of mint did not go into the minestrone. That went into a julep because I was in a Southern mood after learning to say y’all

Instructions

Heat oil in a large pan, and sauté garlic powder and onion powder briefly until fragrant. Add carrots, zucchini, tomatoes, chickpeas, and other dried spices. Cook for a few minutes. Then add broth and bring to a simmer. Add pasta and continue to simmer. A few minutes before the pasta is done, add in your fresh basil and other greens if using.

Serve with obscene amounts of parmesan.

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This was a far more attractive amount of parmesan, than I actually used.

Serafina

Dragon Noodles

Friends, I have good news and bad news. I’ll just lead with the good stuff. I finally got in touch with Mary Ellen after her impromptu trip to the Caribbean. She doing so great. Just so great. Incidentally, she did get a little bit kidnapped. I don’t have the details, but her extraordinarily wealthy husband is refusing to pay the ransom because he found out she isn’t a natural blonde.

So much drama, am I right?

Anyway, I was craving some healthy Asian food after hearing about Mary Ellen’s plight (plus, when I tried to get in touch with her husband to see if he was DTF with her out of the picture, I realized he had blocked my number), so I decided to go with one of my stand-bys, Dragon Noodles. It has only 4 tbsp of butter, which is only half a stick, so this easily falls into the “healthy weeknight dinner” category. If only I had remembered to buy, cook, and then eat some vegetables…

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My housekeepers came over today and I still couldn’t clear off the fucking counter before taking pictures

Ingredients

4 tbsp butter

8 oz package of soba noodles

3 eggs

1/4 tsp garlic powder

Coconut aminos

Hot sauce (I used Cholula, though Sriracha is also good if you’re into that sort of thing)

Red pepper flakes

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I didn’t scramble the eggs according to Gordon Ramsay’s method. But they aren’t raw, so there’s that!

Instructions

Cook soba noodles in water per package directions

Melt about 1 tbsp of butter in a pan, and then scramble your eggs

Once eggs are cooked, set aside

Melt the remaining butter with garlic powder

Once pasta has been drained, place it back in the pot and pour butter mixture over it. Add a good amount of coconut aminos and some hot sauce, mix to coat. Then add eggs and serve.

This is a messy dish. It would maybe serve more than one person if after serving yourself a bowl, you didn’t immediately move the rest of the food within reach of your chopsticks.

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Giant pot of delicious spiciness=one serving. As an aside, if anyone has any antacids they want to send my way, feel free

Spice up your life

Serafina

Baklava

I’ve been obsessed with making baklava since I had a late-night school-induced baklava binge last month. I figured, the ingredients are so simple it must not be hard to make. Most recipes brag that it only takes an hour of prep and then 45 minutes of baking, but they’re all liars. First you have to thaw dough overnight or for up to a full day. And for the prep, I watched exactly three 45 minute shows on Netflix while making this, so it took fucking forever. Also, I brought this to a work potluck, so I basically spent an eternity making a dish and only ate four or five pieces.

Overall, I don’t really recommend that anyone make baklava. Yeah, it’s expensive to buy baklava, but you probably aren’t going to do that very often. Mine was by far the best tasting baklava I’ve ever had, and I’m still probably never making this again. But, if you are under house arrest and someone is willing to get the ingredients for you, it might be worth it.

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How can something with eight ingredients take so fucking long to make?

Recipe adapted from http://natashaskitchen.com/2014/12/21/baklava-recipe/

Ingredients

1 package of filo dough

2 sticks of butter

1.5 pounds of nuts (I used a mix of almonds and pistachios)

1 tsp cinnamon

1 cup sugar

Juice of ½ a lemon

1 cup water

½ cup honey

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I should have just poured the butter on the filo and not bothered spreading it out.

Instructions

Thaw filo dough for 8-24 hours in the fridge and then take out about an hour before you’re ready to start making baklava

Make syrup first so it has a chance to cool. Boil water, honey, sugar, and lemon juice for about 4 minutes and then set aside to cool.

Melt butter and then butter the sides of a 9×13 pan.

Pulse nuts in food processor until they are coarsely ground, then stir together with cinnamon.

Set up a fairly large workspace (you actually need to clean your kitchen before you make baklava or you’ll end up yelling a lot, which will make your baklava taste angry).

Trim filo dough to about 9×13 or 9×14.

To butter the filo dough, I found that it was best to drip a lot of butter on the dough and then brush it around a little. It doesn’t have to be perfect. You don’t want to miss an important part of the show you’re watching since doing this without a distraction would be boring.

Buttering every other sheet, place 10 sheets of filo on the bottom of the pan. Then add a thin layer of nut mixture (about ¾ cup). From there, alternate 5 sheets of filo (buttering every other sheet) with ¾ cup nuts. When you are out of nuts, end with 10 sheets of filo on the top, but butter every sheet so these stick together better. Cut the baklava before baking either in squares or diagonals. Use a very sharp knife because it is easy to fuck up the filo dough. Bake for about 45 minutes, then immediately pour the syrup over the baklava. It sizzles in a very satisfying manner. Cool uncovered for several hours or overnight. Cut again before serving.

 

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It’s best to crush your nuts by hand if you’re looking to make this process take as long as possible. I used a food processor, but I also hand-shelled the pistachios, so I still maximized my cooking time.

I can’t tell you what to do with your life, but if you have like three hours to dedicate to making baklava, you should probably re-evaluate your priorities.

-Serafina

Garden Green Curry

Man, oh, man, I’ve been having a lot of GI issues lately (I wish I could just insert a poo emoji here, but I don’t know how to do that on my computer… I’m only technically a millennial). Anyway, I’ve had a number of conversations with my significant other about how if I die from this illness, he will need to make sure my headstone reads “Here lies Serafina Bearafina, who died out of her butt”

I’m obviously hoping that doesn’t happen, but you have to have a plan in place.

Anyway, prior to my…problems, I was spending a shitload of time gardening. A few weeks ago, I made this lovely dish (I only mention that it was a few weeks ago so no one thinks that this curry will make you die out of your butthole)

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If you’re wondering, no, the broccoli isn’t supposed to look like that, it was basically broccolini, just grown from regular broccoli seeds because I planted it too late.

This curry was born out of the most wonderful of circumstances. My boyfriend, who refuses to eat curry after an incident with his freshman year cafeteria, was away for the weekend. My garden produced about 10 zucchinis and some other unidentified stuff. And (most importantly), I discovered a jar of green curry paste that was about to expire. I know you all wish you can be as inspired in the kitchen as I am, but I’m hoping by sharing these little genuine moments, you can learn how to make edible food.

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Here’s another tip to help you on your food journey: if you think the cauliflower your grew looks weird, taste it before you drop it in the pan.

Ingredients

Brown rice, cooked

1-2 tsp coconut oil

Garlic powder

Ginger powder

Green curry paste

Splash of water

Several cups of garden vegetables (or grocery store vegetables if you don’t understand how to water your garden)

1 can coconut milk

1-2 tsp coconut aminos

1 tsp lime juice

Salt and pepper to taste

Cilantro to garnish

 

Instructions

Cook your rice if you didn’t already (it doesn’t taste very good raw)

Heat coconut oil with ginger and garlic powder for a few moments, then add green curry and a splash of water. Add veggies and saute for a few minutes. Add coconut milk and cook until veggies are soft (maybe 15 minutes?) Once cooked, add lime juice, salt, pepper, and coconut aminos.

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Try not to text your boyfriend a picture of all of the things he hates, unless you want to make sure he doesn’t actually come home.

*poo emoji*

Serafina

Tomago Kake Gohan

AKA the ridiculous shit you eat when you never go to the grocery store

Oh, hi there, friends. It’s been a minute what with Mary Ellen’s baby getting her sick again (babies are so gross) and my summer Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman classes (we learned how to make hats!)

Dr. Quinn with hat
Regular doctors wear lab coats, but in my program, hats are actually preferred.

I’m just glad we’re all here now, so I can finally admit that I eat raw eggs. I had my chickens’ poop checked out by a vet, and for several months I went around telling people that there was no salmonella because my chickens are basically perfect. Then my boyfriend pointed out that the vet might not have checked for salmonella. What a dick. Both of them. I would have been perfectly fine living in my world without salmonella.

Anyway, I still eat raw eggs anytime I bake anything. And also, anytime I’m hungry.

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Imagine my shock when my boyfriend, who definitely doesn’t have weird food preferences, refused to eat this!

I read about this somewhere. I thought it was the New Yorker, but I couldn’t find it. It’s not like it’s a hard “recipe” though…

Ingredients

About a cup of hot rice (I used white rice in the pictures, but I often use brown rice)

1 egg

Seasonings (all optional): Siracha, toasted sesame oil, and/or coconut aminos (or soy sauce)

Instructions

Place rice in bowl

Crack egg directly into bowl

Whisk the shit out of it with chop sticks until it gets foamy

Add seasonings if desired

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It starts to hold together and gets kind of custard-y, which is what you want

Serafina

Vegan Chocolate Sheet Cake (with non-vegan chocolate frosting)

Guess what, everyone? I tried to find a recipe for a vegan chocolate sheet cake last week (I was low on eggs and had to bring cake to a barbecue). I could not find any vegan sheet cake recipes. What the fuck? Is this because vegans don’t have enough friends to bother with sheet cake? No offense, vegans. But maybe if you used some butter you’d have more friends. #realtalk #sorrynotsorry

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I am pretty new to sheet-cake-level popularity, so I don’t have large platters. I’m working on it, and I made do with the cake carrier this time

Anyhoo, I ended up making a few slight adaptations to a vegan chocolate layer cake recipe that I have used for years. It turned out marvelously, and thanks to a butter-filled frosting, everyone wanted to be my friend.

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I poured my vanilla and apple cider vinegar into bowls for you guys, instead of just taking more pictures of my vanilla jar with the rusty lid. Making friends takes effort. And butter.

This works as a layer cake with two 9in cake pans, or it could also make 24 cupcakes. I found this handy baking time chart for all you type A vegans looking to make friends with cake.

Adapted from Joy the Baker

Ingredients:

2 1/4 cups flour

2 cups sugar

3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

2 teaspoons baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

2/3 cup canola oil

2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar

2 cups cold water

Instructions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease 9 x 13 in pan and line with parchment. Line two cupcake pans with paper liners and set aside.

Mix flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt together in a large bowl. Sifting is advised because cocoa power is a pain in the ass and clumps.

Mix the water, oil, vinegar, and vanilla together in a medium bowl.

Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix until just combined (vegan cakes get cranky when they are over-mixed, no one wants to eat a cranky cake)

Pour into the prepared pan. Bake for about 35 minutes. It is done when the skewer comes out mostly clean.

Cool completely then transfer onto a cake platter to be frosted.

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I was not sure about the baking time, so I stabbed the cake with a bamboo skewer about 20 times. It was effective. Also, I didn’t use a timer

Chocolate Frosting, adapted from a recipe on the back of a box of baking chocolate

Ingredients

8 oz baking chocolate (I usually do ½ unsweetened and ½ bittersweet)

6 tablespoons butter

About 1/3 cup milk (I use unsweetened almond milk)

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

½ teaspoon salt

About 3 cups powdered sugar

Instructions

Melt butter and chocolate. I usually use the old put a bowl over some boiling water method. Once melted, take off heat and let cool for a minute. Add vanilla and salt.

Alternately beat in powdered sugar and milk until you get a thick, but spreadable consistency. Spread evenly on cake. This frosting hardens and becomes fudgy when it cools.

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I don’t know how there are already splashes of butter and chocolate on the cake carrier, I hadn’t even mixed in the powdered sugar at this point, and that’s the messy part

You don’t make friends with salad

Serafina

Things my Boyfriend Won’t Eat (Broccoli Rabe Pasta)

If you’ve been following our blog for awhile, or at least have skimmed the bios, you probably know that I’m not a lesbian. I know, I know, it’s a big disappointment. But, here we are. Not only does my man/boy friend not have lady parts, he’s also an avid meat eater and hater of veggies. I’m not sure how we live in the same house.

At one point, I started trying to increase the amount of home cooked and healthy meals we ate, so I started a collection of recipes that he will actually eat. It’s in a folder on my desktop titled “togetherness meals” and one of the documents is actually a list of things he won’t eat, because it was easier for me to think of that than things he was willing to eat. I included an excerpt below

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Spoiler alert: this pot of greens is on the list!

Things Serafina’s man-friend won’t eat

“Foot Cheese” (apparently the only cheeses that don’t smell like feet are mild cheddar and mozzarella)

Calciferous vegetables

Squash or other gourds

Tomatoes

Eggplant

Anything with a weird texture

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I had trouble not eating the parm immediately after grating it because people who aren’t romantically involved with me generally prefer cheeses with flavor.

Anyway, to celebrate an alone evening I had last weekend, I made all of my man-friend’s least favorite foods (don’t worry, he wasn’t sleeping in a tent outside because we had another vegetable fight, he was just visiting his dad).

 

Broccoli Rabe (AKA Rapini) Pasta, adapted from Smitten Kitchen

Ingredients

½ lb pasta

½ bunch broccoli rabe (I don’t know how else to quantify this, maybe like a full handful?)

Olive oil

Garlic powder

Juice of about ½ a lemon

Salt and pepper to taste

Parmesan

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You’re not required to clean your sink before draining the pasta, but you will get bragging rights if you use a clean colander.

Instructions

Cut broccoli rabe into bite sized pieces, with the larger stems removed.

Cook pasta half way and then add in the broccoli rabe.

Cook until pasta is al dente and broccoli rabe is mostly soft, then drain.

In the same pan, sauté garlic powder (or real garlic if you’re the sort of person who keeps that on hand) in the olive oil for a minute or so to bring out the flavors. Add the pasta and a healthy squeeze of lemon juice. Mix to coat.

Cover with copious amounts of parmesan.

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The ideal pasta to greens ratio is 1:1, and the ideal wine glass will hold about half a bottle of wine (don’t worry, I got a refill shortly after taking this photo)

Mac and Cheese

A couple weeks ago, both my boyfriend and I both had bronchitis. We were sick as hell and all of our communication was reduced to grunting and gesturing. Neither of us bathed for like three days. It was nice. Right before I got really sick, I realized we had no food in the house, so I bravely put on pants and went to the store to get essentials. I got like 10 cans of soup, a couple apples, and ingredients for Mac and Cheese.

Mac and cheese More cheese
I didn’t buy enough cheese, so I supplemented with some sliced muenster, which by some miracle, wasn’t already moldy.

I’ve mentioned it a few times, but my body doesn’t get along with dairy products super well. For that reason, I only ever use almond milk or coconut milk. But I can’t give up butter and cheese, even if it means that in addition to coughing up my lungs, I was crop dusting the hell out of my boyfriend for like three days. Cheese and butter are worth his suffering. I’m a true romantic.

Recipe adapted from food.com

Ingredients

8 oz pasta (I used penne but there’s nothing wrong with elbow macaroni)

½ stick of butter

¼ cup flour

Salt and Pepper

2 cups milk (I used unsweetened almond milk)

2 cups shredded cheese

Mac and Cheese Cheesy Sauce
When you are getting sick, you don’t bother to clean your stove top before taking pictures.

Directions

Cook pasta and drain.

Melt the butter and whisk in flour to make a rue. Let sit over medium heat for a couple minutes, add salt and pepper, then add milk and mix well. Slowly add cheese and mix until it is melted. Add pasta to sauce. Add more salt and pepper to taste.

Serve with salad if you feel like your body is begging for nutrients.

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Salad and wine magically turn everything into a healthy meal, even if you’re lactose intolerant and just ate a pound of cheese

I regret that I don’t keep the ingredients for this recipe on hand, but whenever I make it, I have other regrets. Is this the circle of life?

Serafina

 

Time Management

Hello again, beloved readers. I’m here to talk to you today about a topic which is important to everyone: time management. You may not know this yet, but in addition to writing an inspiring and profound post for you every other week, I also work part time and sort of go to grad school. So, I’m highly qualified to talk to you about how you’re managing your time wrong.

Tonight, I have a paper due at midnight. Tomorrow, I have a practical exam during which I will either pass or fail my class. Most people would be tempted to study, or write their paper, but that would be a fatal mistake. You see, it’s not procrastination if I don’t start writing my paper. If I put off writing it and then start it at the last minute, I would be the poster child for procrastination. But I’m not going to do that, because I have a plan. I’m not going to tell you what my plan is, because that would be basically spoon feeding you time management skills, and I’m not here to do that. It’s like that parable of the one guy feeding the hungry stupid guy a fish. I can’t just give you a time management fish, I must catch you, the time management fish, and then devour you while looking into your dead little fish eyes.

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I took this picture while my man friend was trying to catch a fish awhile back. He didn’t catch anything because no one taught him about time management.

I’m sure you understand, just as I did when I learned that parable.

Anyway, after a long day of school, I like to come home and fix myself a proper dinner. Being short on time is no excuse to short your body the nutrients it deserves.

For this meal, I decided to provide myself with inspiration so I can focus on what matters in my life right now, which is planting a plum tree in my back yard this fall.

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Using jam with the word “fancy” in it increases the quality of your dining experience. It’s been empirically proven.

Crackers with Almond Butter and Jam

Ingredients:

Crackers

Almond butter

Jam

Instructions:

Place crackers attractively on a plate

Using a plastic spoon (or regular spoon if unlike me you have available clean silverware in your home) drop a dollop of almond butter on each cracker. Then drop a dollop of jam next to the almond butter, but still on the cracker (it’s important to ensure BOTH ingredients are on the cracker).

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See how attractively arranged the crackers are? It’s ok if yours don’t look as nice.

Place cracker in mouth and then eat.

If your mouth gets dry or the almond butter sticks to the roof of your mouth, you should try drinking a beverage. I went with beer, which worked well.

XOXOX

Serafina