Hey look – I’m still alive….again!
Wow, sorry it’s been so long since making a post; life has been full of craziness, what with work, the impending WeddSplosion, and training for my incoming backpacking trip at Yosemite. Still, I feel a slacker for neglecting my duties here at n00bcakes. While I don’t think I’ll ever be able to constantly keep up a 3-times-per-week posting schedule, I did want to have something new at least once a week. So! Here’s me endeavoring to get back on track.
I actually made this recipe last week (or was it the week before?) and really enjoyed it. I’d been wanting something light for a meal that wasn’t a salad (I tire of salads quickly, truth be told), and this totally fit the bill for me. I found it in a random tweet from someone (alas, I can’t remember who O.o) labeled as a good meal that didn’t necessitate turning on your oven very high. I…sort of agree. Though I don’t always have the finest touch when it comes to cooking, so it could be that I just wasn’t patient enough to let it simmer as opposed to boil.
As usual, one of my favorite things about this recipe is how incredibly simple it is. Saute diced onions in the bottom of a pot with some garlic until soft. Add sliced squash and cook until softened. Pour in ~4 cups of stock (I used chicken, though the recipe called for vegetable) with spices and simmer. Blend the crap out of it, then eat!
This recipe was especially fun for me because it gave me a chance to use my Ninja immersion hand blender…very cool. Actually, before I whipped out the Ninja, I snapped my previous immersion blender clean in half, leaving little shards of metal in my soup. It simply couldn’t withstand the might of the squash it was attempting to defeat. Luckily the Ninja was up to the challenge, and struck the squash into submission. Also, I picked the metal shards out of the soup. I had no interest in going to the hospital that night.
I was pleased with the end result; it was creamy (with chicken stock, anyway) and slightly curry tasting because of the curry powder the recipe called for (duh). It could use a little extra zing…next time I might add a dash of something spicy, or maybe even just some salt. Either way, a dollop of sour cream on top really was a fantastic last touch and made a bowl of soup feel like a hearty meal. I don’t now how much I consider this a hot-weather meal (outside of it calling for summer squash), but it was still really good. And easily transpose-able to a vegetarian or vegan meal if you so desire. So go forth and squash it up!
Adapted from The Kitchn
**To preface this…I’m kind of sad that for several days this week, FoodBuzz’s Top 9 included guacamole recipes. I wrote this last weekend…so I promise I’m not blindly copying content**
I love guacamole.
It’s one of those great party foods that give off the illusion that you’ve put a lot of effort into a nice dish, when really you spent 5 minutes and $5. I like stuff that easily impresses and is just as easily made. With its nice colors and easy serving arrangements (guacamole + bowl + chips = done), guac an easy crowd pleaser. Plus, it’s delicious.
Guacamole is something I have strong opinions on, too; I’ve put my discerning eye on enough versions at restaurants to know where it is and isn’t worth ordering (Bone Garden yes, Nuevo Laredo no) and modeled my personal recipe off of my favorites.
What are my opinions? I’m so glad you asked.
I think guacamole should not taste predominantly like salt (your chips should add most of the salty flavor). I think it’s meant to be slightly chunky, not pureed (it has texture! It’s not baby food pla-pla.). And I think it should always be accompanied by some other vegetables, specifically tomato, onion, and possibly jalepenos. And cilantro (the herb, not the singer).
I’m not being picky…I’m just citing what I feel separates the men from the boys. Of guacamole.
All that to say, here’s my recipe for super-duper guac, but if you like it with more salt, completely pureed, and without any other vegetables, I won’t judge you (not much, anyway). As usual, the spices are my best estimation…I have a tendency to add spices until things ‘taste right’.
One thing I do want to note, though: I want to stress the importance of using lime juice in your guac. Lemon juice can always be used in the pinch, but through lots of experimentation, I’ve found that lime is really the final ingredient that pulls everything together. Without a few squirts of lime juice, the guacamole never quite tastes right.
How do you like your guac?
Sufficient for a group of 4. For anything larger group I double the recipe.
Saving guacamole can be tough to do; it has a tendency to get brown and gross-looking pretty fast. An easy way to avoid this is to get some plastic wrap and lay it directly on top of the guacamole, sealing as much air away from it as possible. Vigorously mix it before serving a second time.
After last week’s Bonanza I needed a break from baking, but still feel like doing some cooking (and writing about it). Thusly came about the Easy Ground Turkey Fajitas.
Fajitas have always been my go-to meal when I want something easy, tasty, and relatively healthy, assuming I do it right. Back in college I used to make these in a huge pan and add sour cream, shredded cheese, and avocado. My roommates and I would eat it right out of the pan with tortilla chips. Is that gross? I hope not. Because it was delicious.
These days I try to ratchet it back a little. No need to go over-board crazy with something that’s tasty on its own.
But first, kick off your workin’ shoes and break out the chips and salsa. It’s important to relax before cooking.
Trader Joe’s has great salsa. I like it a little spicy (bow chicka bow bow).
The best thing about fajitas, besides them being easy, delicious, and healthy, is that there’s ridiculous amounts of wiggle room; you can’t really mess fajitas up (unless you dump them on the floor. That definitely constitutes messing them up. Especially if you have pets). If you want chicken, you can add chicken. If you want mushrooms, you can add mushrooms! If you like your fajitas spicier, you can add more pepper. You get the idea. Very adaptable.
What I used in this recipe is a combination of my traditional recipe in conjunction with what I had in my refrigerator. I personally feel like the garlic and cumin are a must, but hey – I won’t tell you what to do.
And speaking of garlic…
Slacker’s Tip: If you detest chopping or mincing garlic like I do (I’m all for fresh spices, but on a day-to-day basis, I find it annoying to mince things up) you can buy jars of pre-minced garlic that I absolutely adore. They’re fresher than garlic powder but don’t require getting your fingers sticky and reeking of garlic.
The spices I used will yield a mellow but tasty pan of fajitas with a touch of bite at the end. Like I mentioned before, you can always add more or less of anything depending on how you like your food, these are just a starting point.
One last thing I wanted to mention: you may notice I add the tomatoes after almost everything else. If you add the tomatoes in too early they get soft and mushy, which is no big deal, but you lose their texture and flavor.
The tortillas are more Trader Joe’s delicious – Habanero Lime. Om nom nom nom!
Makes about 4 servings.
For Weight Watchers users, these are 4 points apiece, minus the cheese and tortillas.
Today’s dinner entertainment was a few episodes of American Dad.