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The Mayor is out of town this weekend at a family wedding, so that means I am on my own for (adult) dinner. Even when I am alone, I like to eat something satisfying that won’t leave me feeling awful. A bowl of cereal definitely will not cut it.

Individual Burger Bun Pizzas
On Friday night I made individual pepperoni pizzas. I had made pizzas for the Mayor and I the night before, so I had some leftover ingredients. I didn’t have any pizza dough or anything remotely similar, so I improvised and used hamburger buns. I preheated the oven to 400, spread some spaghetti sauce on the buns, covered with pepperoni, and sprinkled with low fat mozzarella. For seasoning, I sprinkled the top with kosher salt, pepper, and fresh oregano (the kosher salt on top really makes a difference). I baked until cheese melted.

Boca Chick’n Tortillas
Tonight I made one of my “cooking for one” staples – Boca Chick’n Tortillas. I have made these so many different ways, since I first invented these in law school. Now I almost always have boca chick’n patties in the freezer and tortillas in the refrigerator. The rest of the ingredients are completely flexible. (By the way, these are vegan.)

Tonight’s version of Boca Chick’n Tortillas was made with cherry tomatoes, onions, radishes, and lettuce. I started with some hot olive oil in a pan over medium heat. I sliced onions and radishes and added to hot oil. When softened, I added cherry tomatoes sliced in half and sprinkled with kosher salt, pepper, and cumin. I cooked one boca chick’n patty in microwave for one minute, then added to pan and broke up with spatula. I then transferred everything from the pan to a plate, and heated one tortilla in the hot pan just until warm (30 seconds should do it). Filled tortilla with prepared ingredients and chopped lettuce.

Other “Cooking For One” Tips
Remember, cooking for one is always a little better with a glass of wine. Check out this one from Spain!

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Every Sunday I suggest an easy picnic recipe – something light and portable, perfect for some outdoor family time.

The Mayor had to work yesterday, so the Bunny and I met up with him for a lunchtime picnic. I brought along this New Three Bean Salad and a bag of Zucchini Muffins (we got zucchini and green beans in our CSA box last Sunday). I made some chicken to go along with the salad (because the Mayor is once again the anti-Vegan), but forgot it at home! I also realized after the fact that I was supposed to chop the green beans (I don’t follow directions very well – this will likely be a recurring theme here). Smaller pieces of green beans probably would’ve made all the ingredients come together more effectively, but it still turned out to be pretty tasty! As for the little Bunny, he had some Cheerios and also tasted some small pieces of green bean.

New Three Bean Salad with Zucchini Muffins

New Three Bean Salad
This recipe is slightly adapted from the August issue of Sunset Magazine.

Steam 10 oz frozen shelled edamame for four minutes. Add one can drained and rinsed chick peas and steam with edamame for four more minutes.

Mix zest of two lemons with 1/4 cup lemon juice, 1/4 cup olive oil, 1/2 tsp. salt, 1/2 tsp. sugar. Add edamame and chick peas to lemon mixture.

Separately steam 10 oz. green beans (chopped to 1 in. pieces) for four minutes. When done, immediately immerse in ice or run cool water over beans.

Add green beans and 6 diced green onions to edamame chick pea and lemon mixture.

Serve within one hour.

Zucchini Walnut Muffins
This recipe is available on www.cooks.com.

In large bowl combine 3/4 cup whole wheat flour, 1 cup all purpose flour, 1/2 cup brown sugar, 1 tbsp. baking powder, 3/4 tsp. cinnamon, and 1/4 tsp. salt.

In a separate bowl, whisk two large eggs, 3/4 cup milk, and 1/2 cup melted butter. Add 1 cup shredded zucchini (about 2-3), 1/2 cup dark raisins, and 1 cup walnuts.

Pour liquid ingredients into dry ingredients and mix just until combined.

Bake at 375 for 20 minutes.

Always.

My dad is a creature of habit. He goes to the same Cuban coffee shop twice a day, every day, and orders a shot of espresso. He has lived in the same house for over 40 years. He always eats cereal for breakfast and soup and saltines for lunch.  

Always.

Me and My Dad

When I tell him about something I am cooking, invariably, he says, always start with a sofrito. This is just one of the many pieces of advice that comprise the world according to my dad (others include, fix bayonets and charge and make your bed.) This advice could be the subject of an entire book.  But before we get to more recipes, I think we need to at least address the sofrito issue.

What is a sofrito? Essentially it is the beginning of all good cooking. You start with a little olive oil in a pan over medium heat. My dad then adds diced onion, garlic, and green pepper. I usually just do the onion and garlic. Cook until softened. And there you go! Sofrito. Sofrito is traditionally used in Latin cooking, but Sofrito makes almost anything better. Making burgers? Add sofrito into the burger mixture before forming your patties. Making Spaghetti with meat sauce? Start with a sofrito.  Making stir fry? You get the point, right?

Some people add more to their sofrito, but even the basic onion and garlic will completely change your dish.

Now, that I got that out of my system, we can move on to something a little more innovative than rice.

Recently, we signed up for a Community Supported Agriculture (“CSA”) share at one of the local farmer’s markets.  For those of you who are unfamiliar with CSA programs, “shareholders” (term used loosely) commit to a farm for a certain period of time (we paid for a quarter up front).  In exchange for their support, shareholders receive a box full of whatever is in season each week.  It is a great way to “eat seasonally” if you are into that kind of thing.  It also forces you to eat (and cook with) foods you may have never tried before.  We have already received turnips, radishes, beets, mizuna, and kale, all of which I had never cooked with before (not so much a fan of the beets, but love everything else).  

Almost every week we have been getting carrots (last week’s were HUGE) and I hadn’t used any in three weeks.  (No, my white balance does not need adjusting.  Those carrots are purple.  They are orange after you peel them.)

so many carrots

So, I decided to do a stir fry tonight to use up some of the carrots.  This recipe was inspired by this, which I came across when I was searching for a recipe for mizuna.  Obviously stir fry is a very flexible recipe.  Its a great way to make use of whatever produce you have in your kitchen.  The key to a good stir fry is to cook quickly over high(ish) heat while keeping the ingredients moving in the pan, so they don’t burn.
Note: This is a great vegan/vegetarian recipe if you leave out the chicken.

Add a few tablespoons of vegetable oil to wok (or any pan or skillet) and heat over medium high heat.

Dice one onion, one anaheim pepper, three cloves garlic, and add to pan.  

Once onion, pepper, and garlic are softened, add two cups diced carrots and one cup mushrooms.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper.  

In a small bowl, mix 1 tbsp. soy sauce, 1 tbsp white wine, 1 tbsp cornstarch, 1 tbsp sugar, 1 tbsp pepper.  Dice 1 1/2 cooked chicken breasts (we used leftovers from last night, but obviously you could start with raw chicken as well).  Add chicken to soy sauce mixture and let sit.

Once all veggies are softened in wok, add chicken.  If chicken is already cooked, just stir until incorporated.

Add diced scallions.

Serve with rice and leftover curry sauce.

 

I got a lot of carrots in my CSA box stir fry

I got a lot of carrots in my CSA box stir fry

By the way, you can find a CSA near you at http://www.localharvest.org

About Me

Mom to a one-year-old Super Bunny. Amateur cook and photographer. Tiny living enthusiast. Lawyer who would rather write about muffins than motive.

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