that's forking good

adventures in a culinary neophyte's kitchen

this is why I don’t have my own cooking show

Posted by culinaryneophyte on May 27, 2014

Realizing it’s been 10 years since I last posted, I thought I would give you an extra special treat and post a video. Please enjoy “Jess v. The Lobster.”

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seasonal sucker

Posted by culinaryneophyte on January 19, 2014

so delicious pumpkin

One of the things I pride myself on is my grocery shopping proficiency. I make lists, plan a route, study the circulars… I’m basically a supermarket Rain Man. Avocados are on sale this week. Yeah, definitely four for $5. Uh oh, long line at checkout. I militantly stick to my list, steadfast in my in pursuit of savings and abbreviated supermarket visits. But sometimes — just sometimes — I cross paths with a seasonal or novelty item packaged or marketed in such a way that I cannot say no.

Enter SO Delicious‘ pumpkin spice coconut milk. Hooooly wow.

I was sucked in during the holidays when I spied a long line of bright cartons on the end cap at ShopRite: Mint Chocolate, Egg Nog and Pumpkin Spice. All dairy- and gluten-free, and good enough to drink straight from the carton with the fridge door ajar, telling yourself that it’s probably not the best idea to drink the entire quart in one shot, but doing it anyway. (Don’t judge me.) The former two flavors seem to have petered off as Christmas fades into the rearview, but Pumpkin Spice remains and sometimes its sweet, creamy goodness is just too much to pass up, even if it’s not on my list.

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welcome, 2014!

Posted by culinaryneophyte on January 2, 2014

In the past, I’ve done a year-in-review post just before New Year’s Eve, recalling my favorite posts throughout the year. Sadly, this year was very light on posts, and if I made a Top 10 of 2013, it would basically contain every post I wrote this year, because I’m not sure I got that deep into double digits.

This would make sense if I hadn’t spent much time in the kitchen, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. (My Instagram can back that up. I pretty much only take pictures of food.) It’s just been a matter of time… well, I guess more a matter of priority. If something is important to you, you’ll make time for it. Writing fell by the wayside in 2013, and that breaks my little writer heart. I miss crafting posts and sharing my food fun with you. This blog was such a big part of my life, and I want it to be a priority again. I haven’t been big on New Year’s resolutions the last few years, but maybe a New Year’s aspiration?

2014 sparkler

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bejeweled breakfast

Posted by culinaryneophyte on December 27, 2013

This year, most of my gift giving and Christmas revelry took place in advance of the actual holiday, leaving my Dec. 25 all to myself. I did not let this opportunity go to waste. I set my alarm for a rare “late” start (10 a.m.), donned some mismatched sweats, put on a little Ke$ha and got to work in the kitchen. What emerged was a a glorious breakfast of coconut vanilla waffles with vanilla protein “fluff” and homemade pomegranate syrup.

coconut pom waffles

I had this idea saved on Pinterest for weeks, but wanted to make it paleo/clean, so I made some alterations and thankfully ended up with a beautiful and tasty plate. Frankly, I was giddy over it. While everyone on Facebook was posting pictures of their presents, their babies, their dogs, their dogs with presents, their babies with presents, their babies with dogs as presents…  I was posting pictures of waffles.

I have been obsessed with pomegranates for awhile now. Once I had my first taste of those  juicy little jewels, I couldn’t get enough. I already had my pomegranate deseeded, so that saved time because it’s a slight process. There are a few ways to get into that baby, but I use the water bowl method: cut pomegranate in half, submerge in water for 10 minutes, then pull apart the rind and allow it to float to the top of the water while the seeds (arils) sink; strain arils, then dry on paper towel.

The genesis of the protein “fluff” was initially for aesthetic purposes (I wanted to brighten it up a bit before adding the dark pom syrup), but I dug the creaminess it added, plus it’s always nice to sneak a little extra protein into a meal that may not otherwise be that rich in it.

This was a fabulous start to my day. I ran around cleaning and organizing the file cabinet I bought for myself (oh yeah, be jealous), then spent the next five hours marathoning the hell out of season two of “Girls.” Pretty much the best Christmas ever.

coconut pom waffles 2makes two waffles
inspired by foodiecrush
♦1 egg, whisked
1/8 c. coconut milk
3/4 c. almond meal
1/8 c. shredded unsweetened coconut
1/2 tbs. coconut flour
1 tbs. honey
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. sea salt
1/4 tsp. cinnamon

Heat waffle iron. Whisk egg, then add milk. Combine almond meal, coconut, coconut flour and baking soda, then add to wet mixture. Add honey, vanilla, sea salt and cinnamon. Put batter into iron and cook for three to four minutes or until golden.

for protein fluff
1/2 scoop vanilla protein powder (I used Cellucor)
about 2 tsp. almond milk
(play around with these measurements until the consistency is correct; you want it somewhat liquescent, but not runny)

for pomegranate syrup
1/2 c. pomegranate arils
1 c. POM Wonderful juice
1/8 c. organic coconut sugar
1/2 tbs. coconut oil

Heat coconut oil over medium heat. Add arils, juice and coconut sugar. Heat until sugar is dissolved and mixture has reduced by half. (This took a bit longer than I thought it would, so start it going before you start cooking waffle mix.)

Total time? 20 minutes (without deseeding of pomegranate)
Cost? $3.99 POM, $1.50 pomegranate, $6.99 almond meal, $8.99 coconut flour, $3.99 organic coconut, $4.98 organic coconut sugar, $5.99 coconut oil
Overall success relative to expectations? My first bite of the waffle on its own was underwhelming. I thought it was a little bland and moderately dense. (I may separate the egg first next time.) The good news is all the toppings help sweeten and moisten up the dish, and the combination is perfect — like a holiday in my mouth.

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it’s like pizza, but not

Posted by culinaryneophyte on November 24, 2013

Thanksgiving is really this week?! I refuse to believe this year is almost over, and therefore, I am sharing something very un-TurkeyDay-like while I can: Italian-roasted chickpeas. These little babies taste a lot like pizza and suffice as a meal or a snack. Give them a try!

italian roasted chickpeas

Warning: I went complete eyeball on this one, so no measurements. Just follow your heart (and taste along the way) and you’ll be happily surprised.

Combine sun dried tomatoes, EVOO, minced garlic, a little bit of parmesan cheese, a little bit of tomato paste, Italian herbs and a squirt of Dijon mustard. You can either use a food processor or an immersion blender (what I did) to blend into a paste.

Drain and dry a can of chickpeas on a sheet for at least 30 minutes. Next, coat chickpeas in the mixture and bake at 350 degrees for a little less than an hour, making sure to flip every 20 minutes or so. The chickpeas will get crispier as they cool.

Total time? 8 minutes prep, 25-30 minutes bake.
Cost? $1 chickpeas, $3.29 sun dried tomatoes, $2.59 parmesan cheese, 79 cents tomato paste
Overall success relative to expectations? 8 out of 10. I love the taste of these and was happy to snack on them while I prepared the main portion of my dinner. While I was in Chicago last month, I had fried chickpeas, and while obviously these are a lot healthier, I still couldn’t get the beautiful crispiness of those out of my head. Only other knock here is that they don’t keep as well as leftovers; when I reheated them the next day, the flavor was still good, but the consistency suffered a bit.

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National Oatmeal Day 2013

Posted by culinaryneophyte on October 29, 2013

National Oatmeal Day 2013

 

 

 

Today is National Oatmeal Day!

In celebration, I had “breakfast for lunch” and made a bowl of a sort of harvest protein oatmeal with pumpkin, egg white, whey and spices, topped with dried cranberries, pistachios, sunflower seeds, crushed walnuts and pumpkin spice almonds.

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