Tag Archives: Food Humor

Homemade Juice with a Side of Elbow Grease

23 Nov

Yes, Yes, it’s been a while since I’ve posted, I know. I’ve been trying not to do it [in the immortal words of Cher Horowitcz] sporadically, but here we are. Life adjustments require….adjustments? New job, schedule changes, wedding planning, holiday season (and by that I mean Halloween, Election day, and All Stouts Day, of course).

Juice

 

So I’ve been dying for a juicer for a while. I would love to start all my mornings with a delightful fruit/vegetable juice, however I’m not about to spend $6 a pop at a hip cafe, knowing that I’m taking in $0.30 worth of raw material (get it…RAW!). So after an impressively unhealthy weekend, I decided to get a little creative and see what I could come up with when left to my own devises. I began by packing my blender full of goodies (kale, cucumber, carrot, broccoli stem, pear, apple, frames, chia seeds, water) and prepared for a whirlwind of colors to blend into a beautiful haze of tasty and nutritious liquid. However, what actually happened was the blade lamely started to cut at the bottom-most veggies, and everything just stayed in place. Awesome.

I grabbed my step stool (because I can’t reach the top of my fridge, I’m short) and got out my handy food processor. I dumped everything into the food processor and gave it another go (while doubling the amount of chopping aparatei I have to clean up in one fell swoop). The second go was successful. I decided “who needs to strain all the nutritious goodness that is the vegetable pulp” and drank it like a smoothie, fiber train here I come! Yikes. Not good. If I every try to make dinner out of a lawn I assume this is what it tastes like. I choked it down and wasn’t ready to give up (mainly because I had a a HUGE amount of veggies and fruits left since I had planned for a “healthy” week)

The next morning I got my hands on some cheesecloth and did the same thing, with the addition of hand-wringing sweet delicious juice out. It worked beautifully, however the whole thing (getting everything out, chopping it up, putting it into the processor, winging it out small batch by small batch) took about 25  minutes, without clean up. I don’t know about you, but I’m waaay too lazy to start my mornings with that much work outside of the gym, so I’ve decided to kick back and hope the upcoming holidays yield a juicer (I have a bridal shower right after christmas, time to practice my “you shouldn’t have” face).

Juice1

 

One last thing to leave you with: I take fiber pills every morning and drink coffee religiously, so this juice added with my normal regimen made my digestive system something to be envied…or feared, I’m not sure yet.

A Fall Favorite

7 Oct

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The leaves are changing color, the new season’s boots are on display, and the weather is still…in the 70s and 80s. Sure, that makes sense. This warm Fall weather is making it hard to enjoy sweaters and a good butternut squash soup, but no complaints here. Although I am from Michigan, I will never get used to or start enjoying cold weather (I fancy myself a sledder more than a skier). Don’t get me wrong, I love a brisk high 50s day with crunchy leaves lingering in my path–and who could forget about the great Brown Ales to enjoy to welcome in this new season–but having the knowledge that we won’t see warm weather again until May (IF WE’RE LUCKY) makes me want to cling on to this weather with all my might.

That being said, it’s not going to stop me from enjoying some of my favorite Fall foods (root veggies and squash, I’m looking at you…). I touched upon this recipe in last year’s Thanksgiving post, but this dish is so good, it truly deserves its own post.

{ Curry-Stuffed Delicata Squash – Big Girls Small Kitchen }

I’ve made this delight at least a half dozen times over the past year, and it just keeps getting better and better. And what’s great about Delicata squash (if you can find it, I often sub butternut squash since that’s much easier to find) is that you can eat the skin once it’s cooked (thank you knowledgeable staff at the Ann Arbor Food Co-Op).

Special ingredients like maple syrup, cilantro, and unsweetened coconut flakes give this dish a unique layering of flavor and promote over indulging (go ahead, have 3 halves…if you dare).

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Unfortunately I had poor planning when I made this, as I had 6 beautiful stuffed squash (or squish as we refer to it in our house, mainly for hilarity purposes) halves, and I was leaving for Kalamazoo for the next 5 days for new job training (I got to brew beer and “taste” a lot of beer…you jelly?). I had a choice to make, gorge myself on as many of these as I could in order to reap what I had sewn, or bring some with me to keep in the hotel room. I chose the later, however I forgot them in my trunk and came across them 4 DAYS AFTER I was already back from Kalamazoo (5 days + 4 days = I don’t think these are edible anymore). So the moral of the story is this stuffed squash will not smell up your car when forgotten, so go team?

Curry-Stuffed Delicata Squash – Big Girls Small Kitchen }

For the squash

  • 1/2 cup black lentils – the little French ones that hold their shape
  • Coarse salt
  • 1 cup white basmati rice
  • 3 delicata squash, halved lengthwise, scraped clean of seeds
  • 2 teaspoons neutral oil
  • 1 teaspoon maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons super fresh curry powder
  • 1/4 cup shredded coconut, preferably unsweetened (but sweetened will work in a pinch)
  • 1/2 cup yellow raisins, submerged for 10 minutes in a bowl of boiling water to plump, squeezed dry
  • 1/4 cup roasted unsalted sunflower seeds or peanuts
  • Handful coarsely chopped fresh cilantro leaves for garnish

For the dressing

  • 1/3 cup mayonaise
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons curry powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 2 tablespoons neutral oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F.
  2. Bring around 6 cups of water to boil in a small saucepan. Add 1/2 teaspoon salt and the lentils. Lower the heat to a simmer and boil for 20 to 25 minutes, until the lentil are soft but not falling apart. Drain in a fine metal sieve. Set the lentils asie.
  3. Rinse the rice in several changes of water, until the water runs clear. Place it in a small covered saucepan with 1 3/4 cups water and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Bring to a boil, then give the rice a stir, put the lid on, and place the pot over the lowest possible heat. Cook for 15 minutes, then turn the heat off and leave the cover on the rice for another 5 to 10 minutes, or until you’re ready to use it. (If you have a preferred method of making rice, go for it. You’ll need 2 cups of cooked rice.) You’ll need 2 cups of the rice; reserve the rest for another use.
  4. Place the squash halves in a lightly oiled baking dish. Combine the oil with the maple syrup, then brush the squash with the mixture. Season with a pinch of salt. Place the squash in the oven and cook them for 30-40 minutes, until they’re easily pierced with a fork.
  5. In a large, heavy skillet – a cast iron pan works great – heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until they are wilted and slightly brown, about 10 minutes. Add the curry powder and 1/2 teaspoon salt, until the curry powder is very fragrant, about 3 more minutes. Add the coconut and cook for another minute, then add the lentils, the raisins, sunflower seeds or peanuts, and 2 cups of the rice. Stir gently to combine all the ingredients. Remove the skillet from the heat.
  6. Make the dressing: combine the mayo, lemon juice, curry powder, salt, oil, and sugar, and stir well.
  7. Add about 3/4 of the dressing to the lentil-rice mixture and stir to combine. Taste for balance of flavors, adding more dressing or salt, pepper, or lemon juice as needed. You want the mixture to hold together well.
  8. Fill each squash half to overflowing, using about 2/3 cup of the mixture. Return the squash to the oven and bake for 10-15 minutes, until the top of the filling is slightly browned and crisp.
  9. Sprinkle with the cilantro leaves. Serve 2 halves to those with big appetites; 1 half will be enough for smaller eaters.
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