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

Southern Style Tomato Sandwiches and How to Make Simple Dishes Fancy

I didn’t want to do another Saturday post, but here we are nonetheless. It’s no excuse, but I’ve been busy working on my heavy metal jazz infusion album, which drops this coming week. So, now that that’s out of the way, I should have a much less hectic schedule. 

When I was growing up, my dad used to make us tomato sandwiches for lunch on the weekends. I loved them. I assumed he made them because we were so poor and couldn’t afford ingredients and also that he was lazy. But it turns out, that it was actually a southern thing I was unaware of until recently. 
The recipe is easy: bread, tomato, mayo. That’s it. I’m sure you can figure out how those come together, but I’ll write down the recipe just in case. 

And I’m going to make it fancy and pretentious. 

There are a few simple rules to make any dish fancy. First, add butter. It doesn’t matter what it is, just add a lot of butter to the dish. Second, buy oddly shaped, expensive baked goods with a French name. And finally, make sure you add in at least seven extra steps to your dish to make it more complicated. It doesn’t matter if they’re unnecessary. Just do it. 

Tl;dr – get all ingredients at Whole Foods and speak in a French accent while you cook. 

The traditional recipe calls for Wonder Bread, whatever tomatoes are on sale, and generic fake mayo. We can only go up from here, people. 

Mary Ellen’s Tomato Sandwiches to Make You Feel Sorry for Her Childood:

Bonus: use vegan mayo to give it the extra “in your face” pretentiousness we all crave.

Ingredients:

  • Mayo
  • Heirloom tomatoes
  • Fancy bread
  • Lettuce*****
  • Salt
  • Butter

Directions:

Cut the fancy bread with a chef’s knife because you don’t have a bread knife.



Melt butter in an iron skillet. No, none of this is negotiable. Go out and buy all these things. What? You want to just toast the bread in a toaster? Wtf is wrong with you? You toast the bread in the skillet!

You will become french toast later, my prettys.

Slice some tomato. Apply mayo to bread. Yes, I know, butter AND mayo? Isn’t that too much? Yes, but so what. Lightly salt the tomato with pink Himalayan salt. Lay down some lettuce. Put in mouth. 

This is what a sandwich looks like. Serve with whimsically cubed watermelon.

Make sure to buy my album. I will sign all digital copies, but only if you promise not to sell them on eBay. 

Music is lyfe,

Mary Ellen 

*****Editor’s note: don’t use whatever bullshit lettuce Mary Ellen used. It’s iceberg or bust if you want the satisfying crunch. 

More Egg Rice 

I’m sorry that I’ve been MIA for a long while. I was sick, died, ressurected, and then I’ve been busy coming up with the perfect playlist for working out. I love making playlists for everything because they are the modern form of mix tapes, which I used to actually make for people all the time, because I was adorable/a creepy nerd. Have a crush? Let them know with a heartfelt compilation of emotional Hanson songs. I continued this tradition even with the advent of CDs, and even went so far as to make a “I’m sorry we broke up, I want to be friends, but I also still want to have sex with you/I will stalk you every day until you love me” mix. When CDs died, I ran to iTunes, and now I’m resting comfortably with Spotify. 
Since I’ve been so busy making playlists, I hardly have time to cook, clean, or have foresight in general. Actually, I don’t think I even made dinner for my husband last night. I think I had a bowl of cereal, I wonder what he had? 

I eat sweet potatoes sometimes as meals. This was painstakingly made by wrapping in foil and throwing it into the oven, where I forgot about it because I didn’t set a timer. Luckily, it turned out well for me.

I go back and forth on the egg thing. I love eggs most of the time, but then I need like, several months of a break. I make a lot of egg scrambles with whatever ingredients I have on hand. This recipe, however, was inspired by a dish at a local ramen spot near my house. A true gem of a place. We went with friends, and it took a couple of hours to get all our food, which was fine since they brought out my sake and I didn’t care about the rest. After like 90 minutes of still missing half our order, I walked up to one of the dudes walking around, and politely informed him that we were still missing our dishes, and like, wondered if they were going to get them for us. He didn’t speak English, and ran away. He was scared of me the rest of the night. 
Anyway, one of our friends and Annie both ordered vegetable fried rice, and they brought out rice with egg in it, and no vegetables. I was jealous. 
This recipe is not fried rice. I’m too lazy for that.  
Egg Scramble with Rice (adapted from a local ramen joint with communication issues)

Ingredients: 

  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup frozen vegetables of your choice 
  • Cheese (optional) 
  • 1/2 TBSP butter or oil
  • 1/2 cup cooked rice of your choice
  • Soy sauce 

Directions:

Heat butter or oil in a pan at medium heat and add vegetables. Cook until heated through and add cheese (if you want) until it melts. 

Today I used peppers and corn that was genetically modified to taste like carrots. It counts as an extra vegetable.

Scramble the eggs in a bowl and pour into pan. 

Serafina would just eat it at this stage because she doesn’t even have time to cook her eggs.

Prepare a bowl of rice and drizzle soy sauce in it and mix it in. Top it with the scramble and eat it while silently wishing you were eating cookies for lunch instead. 

Not cookies, but I guess it works.

That’s all for this week. If you would like your own personalized mixtape from Mary Ellen, send an inquiry through the Contact Page and a representative will be with you within 1-12 days. 
Scrambles are just free spirited omelettes. 
Mary Ellen 

Defeated Eggplant

A Saturday post? What am I doing here? I thought it was still Tuesday. I’ll have to talk to my assistant about keeping a better schedule for me, and maybe limit my daytime drinking just a bit. 
This week has defeated me in almost every way. I am so excited for this weekend, where I still have a shit ton to do, but Annie is also semi available and I can just ignore it all and go drink sake in the corner. 

Since Serafina already shared my likeness, I’m sharing this intimate moment with Annie post coitus. Sorry we look like shit. I’m wearing my house/chore clothes and he’s a corporate accountant and has let himself go.

I promised myself I would never do an eggplant recipe on this blog, but, just like I do with everyone else, I break promises frequently and aggressively. This recipe will not win anyone over that is scared of eggplant.  It really is for people who already like it. 
It’s also adapted from my sister’s recipe that I saw her make once many years ago. I was going to call her and ask how to do it, but I just sent her dance videos for hours instead, never mentioning that I was destroying her recipe and posting it publicly. 
Let’s get to it. 

On the plus side, this recipe doesn’t involve much attention, so it’s good for fellow lazy assholes like me.

Sista Ethel May Darkhorse’s Eggplant Appetizer (pillaged from the mind of Mary Ellen’s sister, Inception style)

Ingredients:

  • Eggplant
  • Bell pepper (I like yellow)
  • Balsamic vinegar
  • Olive oil
  • Salt (I used course Himalayan in a grinder)
  • Goat cheddar (don’t fucking use anything else) 

Directions: 

Slice the eggplant fairly thinly, salt, and put in a colander to sweat for several hours. When ready to bake, rinse and pat dry. 

Eggplant sweat lodge. Yes, that’s my dirty pan from breakfast. It’s fine. I’m fine.

Lay the eggplant out on a pan with parchment paper and brush with the vinegar. Bake at 375 degrees until it’s pretty done. I didn’t time it, sorry. It’s up to you, young Jedi, to figure that shit out. 

I like to put the pepper on top because it’s pretty.

Remove from oven and flip the eggplant. Brush the other side with vinegar and then lay out cheese slices and pepper on top. Drizzle with oil and salt. Put the eggplant in to broil until the cheese is melted. 

If you didn’t almost burn the house down with the parchment paper, then good for fucking you. Guess you are just perfect at everything, huh?

Remove from oven, and eat it. It’s weird and eggplant-like. Yummy. 

Ugh, need to get a manicure.

The odds aren’t in your favor,

Mary Ellen 

Making Salad While Procrastinating 

I’m leaving on my trip to the state where Serafina lives, in two days! So, of course I’m not prepared and I’ve been putting everything off by watching Korean pop dance videos all week. 

However, if you make salad instead of a packing checklist, people will judge you less. They think you’re just prioritizing your health or some bullshit like that. 

Remember my post about how Serafina and I met? Well, in celebration of our impending reunion, I’ve decided to share the recipe for the Kicked up Kowboy Kale recipe that was so popular at the vegetarian topless bar that we once worked.  Instead of bacon bits, which I assume is on everything with a cowboy theme, we’re using spiced nuts.  It’s a really easy recipe, but makes just enough of a mess in the kitchen that you get pissed off because now you have more fucking cleaning to do before the god damn trip. Fuck. 

Kicked up Kowboy Kale (adapted from the sketchy owners of a 1960s era topless bar in West Texas

Ingredients: 

(If you’re making this for your own vegetarian topless bar, multiply the recipe by 40)

  • 1 bunch of Kale 
  • 1/4 cup ranch dressing (whichever you prefer)
  • 1 TBSP BBQ sauce (again, whatever brand you prefer) 
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1 1/2 cups walnuts (or pecans)
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • Drizzle of maple syrup (a drizzle means different things to different people – you have to discover your own drizzles) 

Directions: 

Put the nuts in a pan at medium high heat with the salt, sugar, cumin, maple syrup, and a couple tablespoons of water. Toast them until they are sticky. 

I literally cook everything in my wok.


While your nuts are toasting, prepare the Kale. 

You will not be healthy for me today, Kale!

Here’s the thing about Kale: it’s great for you and all, but I find it chewy and not great to eat in salads (the curly stuff). Solve this minor problem by drizzling a teaspoon of olive oil and massaging it into the Kale in a bowl. It’ll prevent it from being chewy. 

Prepare the dressing by adding the BBQ sauce to the ranch dressing and drizzle onto the Kale. Toss with your hands and make sure it’s all thoroughly covered. 

Taking a page from the book of Serafina, I did not clean the kitchen before doing any of this.

Plate the salad and add the nuts. That’s it. 

I only have a few place mats left, so I didn’t use one this week until I can get more. It’s like formal dresses. You can’t be photographed in the same one twice. It’s the same with placemats.

I will see you soon, Serafina. 
-Mary Ellen 

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.

Mac and cheese plate
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

 

Leftover BBQ Stirfry 

Wow. Just, wow. The response to my last post about how Serafina and I became friends was overwhelming. I’m touched. We got emails upon emails requesting pictures of the vajazzle job, and while I would love to send out 40,000 pictures of Serafina’s nether region, I can’t, because Disney owns the rights to all that. I know what you’re thinking, and yes, we are total sellouts. 

Remember how I hate grating fresh ginger? Enter the ginger paste. Laziness in a tube. Can you tell I shop at Trader Joe’s? It’s because they pay me millions to do so, and their stuff is cheap. Not that I need to be frugal because, you know, I’m a millionaire.

This week’s recipe came about through a combination of boredom and weird cravings of something sweet and salty.  Normally,  I make this as a combination of two different leftovers. Leftover pulled BBQ chicken (which, here’s the recipe: like 4 chicken breasts, a bottle of BBQ sauce, a crockpot, and 6-8 hours) and leftover stir fry. At the time, I decided I didn’t want stir fry for a second night in a row, so I plopped some BBQ chicken on top of it, and I ended up loving it. 

You might think that white stuff is butter and be excited, like my husband was, but it’s cauliflower. Sorry to disappoint.

However, I did not do this recipe with chicken today, because I didn’t have chicken. I used tempeh. 

It still kind of looks like chicken, so it might be traumatizing for Serafina’s chickens to see it.



BBQ Tempeh Stir Fry 

Ingredients:

  • Toasted sesame oil (or extra virgin olive oil) 
  • 1/2 TBSP Ginger paste
  • 3 TBSP soy sauce (or coconut aminos)  
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced 
  • 2-3 cups frozen veggies (can be a mix or I recommend peas, corn, and edamame) 
  • ~4 cups cooked brown rice 
  • 1 TBSP rice vinegar 
  • 1 package tempeh (or pulled chicken, or, if you’re Serafina and have a soy aversion, use steamed or roasted cauliflower) 
  • ~1 cup BBQ sauce 



Directions:

Cut the tempeh into bit sized cubes and marinate with the BBQ for at least 15 mins or you can forget about it and do it overnight. Heat oil in a pan (or wok, preferably) to medium low heat and add the garlic. Don’t burn it or toast it. The garlic should not brown, or you’ll lose flavor. Add the ginger paste. 

Add the rice and soy sauce and increase heat to medium high. Add the veggies and cook until heated through. Finally, add the vinegar. 

While you’re doing all this, also have another pan heated to medium high and try and brown the tempeh, but not to the point the sauce is totally gone. Just make sure it’s heated through. I’ll feel slight guilt if everyone’s food is all cold. 
Dish yourself some stir fry and add the tempeh on top. It’s good, I promise. 

Drink lots of water because this dish is not only salty in taste, but in attitude as well.

Namaste and eat this,

Mary Ellen