28 July 2010

Food Processor: How do I love thee? Let me count the ways . . . (a.k.a. Post for Kristen)

So I think I have already raved about how much I love my food processor. It’s so versatile and it has really broadened my cooking horizons. My first experiences making pie crust, freezer jam, hummus, and homemade peanut butter were facilitated by this little machine. I have used it to cut up all of the lovely CSA squash and veggies I get. I can use it for many of my slicing, grating, shredding, grinding, and mixing needs, and I there is more that I probably haven't tapped, too. It's great to chop onions, slice tomatoes and squash, shred potatoes, grate cheese, etc.

So if you have a food processor, please make the following:

  • Hummus (When I make hummus, I just throw together the following into the bowl of the food processor: a can of drained garbanzos, with a little bit of the liquid from the can, about a tablespoon of garlic, a tablespoon of tahini, a teaspoon or so of olive oil, some freshly squeezed lemon juice, maybe some seasonings, then process away!)

  • Peanut butter: I used this recipe from Alton Brown, except I didn’t add any honey—I didn’t need it)

  • Salsa or pico de gallo

  • Guacamole

  • Tofu balls (I haven’t cooked a lot with tofu, but I tried this recipe with slight alterations—I browned the outsides in a pan on the stove, and then baked them in the oven.)

  • Falafel (I have tried this recipe with moderate success. How do I keep falafel from not falling apart when I fry it, anyone know?)

  • Freezer jam (I used the processor to puree the strawberries for the jam. You can pulse them to chop if you want it more chunky, though.)

  • Pie crust (I love Ina’s perfect pie crust recipe here. I have used it a lot to make chicken pot pie, though not apple pie.)

  • Bread dough and pizza dough (I love this recipe for regular pizza crust and this one for whole wheat pizza. I'm not sure why, but I have had varying results with bread [Then again, what's new there? My results with bread always vary even if you don't factor in the food processor.] So not all of my bread dough has worked exceptionally well in the food processor, but it seems like it is usually pretty good, especially when I''m not making a lot of dough at once. I found this multigrain bread dough recipe at America’s Test Kitchen. You can see it here [you can also find it for free on America’s Test Kitchen website, but you have to register]. I have made 5 loaves of it already in the past week and a half and have been subsisting mainly on bread slathered with freezer jam and nothing else. Yummy. Didn't work so well in the food processor, though, unfortunately.)

  • Cookie dough (Just add the chocolate chips after the dough is already mixed if you’re making chocolate chip cookies so that they retain their shape.)

  • Honey butter, or any kind of specialty butter

  • Soup (Have you tried Ina’s chicken chili? Sarah introduced it to me, and it's just delicious. I use the food processor as she recommends in the recipe.)

  • Ground meat (I made this chicken thing in the food processor a while ago: ground chicken, tomato sauce, some spices, and pan-cooked. We put it in burritos.)

  • Bread crumbs or graham cracker crumbs (Have you ever used ground oatmeal as a substitute for bread crumbs, or flour for that matter? We tried it in falafel when we made it with our gluten-free friend, and it worked surprisingly well!)

  • Waffle batter, crepe batter, cake batter (I used it for banana bread, which is more of a cake batter, and I really liked pureeing the bananas to make them smooth before adding the rest of the ingredients when I made this recipe. Also, Tim and I landed on a waffle recipe very similar to this one that we use almost weekly [waffles on a Saturday morn, anyone?].)

  • Chop nuts

  • Zucchini (this one is for you, Kristen): I like chopping or grating zucchini with the food processor. I really like this one pasta with zucchini and chickpeas/garbanzo beans, similar to the one here (I also saw it on Real Simple originally as well); you can adapt it however you want, but it is a really quick, easy meal. You could also grate zucchini and make zucchini bread/muffins.
The end . . . or just the beginning.

22 July 2010

Basil couldn't take the fireworks.

I regret to inform you that my basil plant was overturned from its home on the windowsill on the Fourth of July. Though best efforts were made to put everything back into the little container, it did not survive the trauma.

Sad, sad day.

14 July 2010

A/C update

Thank you, sympathetic friends, for your kindness.

The landlord sent someone to fix the air conditioning yesterday afternoon shortly after I got home from work. Coincidentally, I knew the guy: he used to be in our ward and was the elders quorum president before he and his family moved away. He checked to make sure everything was working satisfactorily inside, and said that it was, then told me he'd have to get on the roof to fix it. But he couldn't do it right then because his truck with his ladder was in Wallsburg (at least I think that is what he said, but I'd never heard of the place, so I can't be sure). He didn't explain why it was there, but I bet it was a really good story.

Thus we were off to Payson again for yet another night in the twin bed.

So apparently I can't manage any alarm clocks other than the one I'm used to using: I tried setting one on my phone, but it didn't ever go off, so I didn't wake up in time to get to my carpool, so I took the bus, which was awesome, most especially because it took two hours.

I hope this post elicits even more sympathy.

P.S. Why is it still 70 degrees in the middle of the night in Provo?

13 July 2010

Pity me!

I'm not garnering much sympathy via Facebook status update, so I'm hoping to have more success here with the following sob story:

I was really excited back in . . . whenever it was . . . when we decided to move to a new place one block away from our old apartment for the summer only. Our decision was based on just a few factors, and the foremost among them was AIR CONDITIONING. (We had a window unit in our old apartment, but it just did not do the job.) So this summer has been glorious. Glorious, I tell you!

Until yesterday.

I got home from work and was immediately overpowered by a wave of heat and mugginess. (I like the word muggy. Do you?) It was incredibly awful. So I tried adjusting the A/C. Then I left for my water aerobics class, picked up groceries, picked up Husband, and came back to the apartment to bask in the heat and the mugginess, which had only increased since I'd left.

We turned the A/C off, pronto. That helped the mugginess a little. Then we did the dishes (which didn't help the mugginess) and tried to use a recently purchased vacuum (purchased from DI). I turned it on and the motor made an awful noise. So I turned it off, but then turned it back on, thinking maybe the hose worked. (Just troubleshooting, I guess.) It was at this point that smoke started emanating from the base of the vacuum. Husband alerted me and, though I was tempted to keep it on because I was really curious about what would happen next, my wits returned as the horrific smell followed the smoke. I turned the vacuum off and took it out of doors, but it was too late.

The apartment reeked. And it was hot and muggy. Have I mentioned this part? HOT AND MUGGY. We simply could not stay.

The night ended with Tim and I sharing a twin bed (on an unusually uncomfortable mattress, no less) in a house in Payson (not just some random house, Tim's dad's). We slept through the night without much difficulty, surprisingly, and then woke up and left again at the unholy hour of 5 am so we could get ready for the day in Provo and I could make it to my carpool at 6.

Back in the hot and muggy apartment again, while assembling lunches, I noticed that there seemed to be a higher concentration of heat in one corner of the kitchen. Strange. Upon investigation, I realized that the oven was on. I had last used the oven approximately 36 hours before discovering this. SOB. I am fairly certain this did nothing to help the broken A/C problem.
The end.

08 July 2010


So I think I already mentioned that CSA for Jacob's Cove farm that I signed up for? It finally started! The only problem is that, because it started so late, it will end late too. Late September (most likely). And that's too bad, because it's in Utah Valley and Tim and I will be moving to Salt Lake Valley next month. So if any of you would like to buy the share off of us, let me know. (Price info is on the website.)

In this first installment, I got some radishes, kale, squash, red heirloom lettuce, and snap peas.

So I made that thing that is pictured above, which involves radishes, kale, potatoes, red onions, olive oil, lemon, salt and pepper. It's in the oven right now.

In other food adventures, I cooked and ate tofu for the first time recently. We made tofu balls with spaghetti and they were a success. Although less tasty reheated.

And yes, the food processor has been involved in the making of both of the things mentioned. I feel good about that. What a versatile machine. Best wedding gift ever!

01 July 2010

No one told me.

I had an obstetric/pelvic ultrasound recently. You know, the kind you get when you're pregnant? (No, I'm not pregnant, and no, this is not an announcement.) The doctor's office called me to schedule the appointment for said ultrasound over the phone. Whomever I talked to neglected to mention an important detail: you should have a full bladder when getting this kind of ultrasound. (So for all of you pregnant ladies or ladies who plan to be pregnant, just tuck that away for your information.) For some reason it helps them see stuff? I don't really get that, but I'm also not an ultrasound technician. It might be kind of cool if I were one, though.

I arrived for my appointment and they asked, "Do you have a full bladder?"

"I kind of have to go to the bathroom, and I haven't gone for a while," I replied. (Why are they asking me this? I feel kind of weird about telling this to the receptionists, I'm thinking to myself.)

Then they laughed at me a little and had me take a seat to wait.

I went into the ultrasound room and the tech asked me about my bladder level, too. Weirdo. So I told her that no one mentioned I should have a full bladder, but I didn't say this until after she had already squirted the warm gel (I always thought that gel was supposed to be cold?) on my abdominal area. Then she asked me about my schedule and told me I should maybe drink some more fluid and come back in about 20 minutes for another go at it.

At this point, I commenced my search for water. I didn't have my water bottle, sadly, so I couldn't really utilize the drinking fountain for my needs. I thought the search would be easier! In the pharmacy, they had bottled drinks but no water. I didn't want a bottled drink other than water, so I left and walked around the building more, considered asking someone in one of the offices for a cup, considered driving home to get my water bottle, and then I went back to the pharmacy and bought a grapefruit juice drink (not juice, which would've been my first choice) for one dollar, drank it, refilled it with water, drank that. Refilled the bottle (clearly labeled Do not reuse.) with water again, and drank that.

Needless to say, when I got into the ultrasound room for the second time, I felt a little bloated.

Moral of the story: Know before you go.

Second moral of the story: I sort of hate going to the doctor.

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