Well, just when I thought a semester couldn’t possibly get any busier, I met Fall 2011. Somehow, I have managed to do a small bit of cooking since school started up, but not as much as I would like. I have been majorly inspired by the book I am reading for Food Writing right now – Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver. Yes, it sounds a bit cheesy but I can assure you it is a wonderful read! I have one chapter to go before I write my book review, so I will post that when I finish! In the meantime, I am taking a break from my list of 500 assignments to be completed before Monday to share some food with you.
Partly inspired by Barbara Kingsolver and her family’s quest to eat entirely local foods for a year, and partly drawn in by large, delicious peaches, I have been making an effort to get over to Westside Market on my weekly shopping outing. At least Eastside and Westside Markets are open year-round. Each time I visit the Farmer’s Market, I sadden at the thought of this mecca of fresh, local products soon going into hibernation for the winter. Last week, however, I stopped by and picked up some local grass-fed beef and some ridiculously cheap squash and eggplant which became staples in my meals for the week.
After a wonderful suggestion from my Aunt Teresa, I shredded some zucchini and yellow squash, then sauteed it for a few minutes with garlic, olive oil, and a dash of pepper. Delicious as this was, I didn’t stop there. I tossed it with some whole wheat pasta and roasted eggplant, then topped it all off with some tomato sauce for a delicious, veggie-filled meal. Eggplant is still a bit too bitter for me, but it wasn’t bad.
Now, for some creativity. Since one of the perks of my job is a meal plan in the dining centers, I jump at the chance to pick up a meal when they have a good vegetarian option. Tuesday night was stuffed peppers! As someone who has to run product ratios during the meals and stress over whether or not we’ll have enough food, I understand the importance of portion sizes, but 1 pepper half is just not enough food for me! Not to worry. I used it as the base for a delicious, healthy meal!
The shredded summer squash returns! This time with the addition of onion, corn, and tomato for a delicious side dish for my stuffed pepper and spicy rice!
All in all, it ended up being quite the delicious meal.
Today it was again time to make bread! I haven’t had to make it as often recently since I’m never home to eat toast for breakfast these days and I am often able to grab something from the salad bar while I’m on campus rather than packing a sandwich for lunch. It is a delicious staple in my cabinet though so I thought it was about time I share!
I decided to switch over to making my own bread back in January and I’ve never looked back! It did take a few months of weekly bread baking to nail down a recipe I could live with on a daily basis. I needed a bread that was large and sturdy enough for sandwiches, without any strange, expensive ingredients, and that could be made relatively easily. After some trial and error, this honey whole wheat loaf fit the bill perfectly.
The first few loaves were so short that my sandwiches looked more like a deck of cards than a meal for a few weeks. I finally invested in a box of wheat gluten which was only about $1.5o and lasted me MONTHS! Quite worth it for substantial bread slices if you ask me. Imagine my surprise when I finally ran out of wheat gluten a few weeks back and my bread still rose as it should! I must not have had my technique nailed down for those initial loaves. So, what’s a hungry girl to do with a loaf of freshly baked bread? Make a sandwich of course!
I originally planned on my usual Saturday lunch of and egg and cheese sandwich, that is until I stumbled upon some sliced tomato and avocado I needed to use last night. That was enough to convince me to make my favorite tomato, avocado, and cheese sandwich for lunch today…until it dawned on me to combine the two! Best decision ever.
Messy? Yes. In fact, forks are recommended. But it was so worth it.