Spring has finally hit Bloomington so Eduardo and I have been celebrating with some breakfast experiments. This morning, homemade turmeric polenta topped with caramelized onions, roasted tomatoes and sautéed spinach.

Spring has finally hit Bloomington so Eduardo and I have been celebrating with some breakfast experiments. This morning, homemade turmeric polenta topped with caramelized onions, roasted tomatoes and sautéed spinach.

(Source: Spotify)

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What I made this week: a recipe review

Creamy Greek Yogurt Mac & Cheese by Cooking ala Mel
4 forks

This mac and cheese is moist, creamy, and sharp. We used sharp cheddar, which, when paired with the sour greek yogurt, was maybe too sharp. Next time I would use a milder cheese, more spinach, and throw some cherry tomatoes into the pan when mixing in the cheese sauce.

Coconut Curry Carrot Soup with Fried Rice Croutons by A Cozy Kitchen
3.5 forks

About the soup: This soup is really simple and satisfying. The dramatic yellow hue of not only the carrots, but the turmeric and curry powder make this a really appealing dish. The sweetness of the carrots is strong and well balanced by caramelized shallots and pungent curry spices. Definitely a simple, go to soup on a cold day.
About the rice croutons: I had quite a bit of trouble with these croutons. After several attempts at getting everything to congeal, I ended up adding a bit of xanthum gum and frying the rice as a giant, savory pancake instead of many individual squares. The flavor was great and the crunchy texture matched well with the softness of the soup.

Tomato Sauce with Onion and Butter on Food 52 by Marcella Hazan
5 forks

The most simple, modest, and delicious red sauce I have ever had, let alone made. The key here is to use quality ingredients - as there are so few - and plenty of salt. The result is a caramelized, rich red sauce that can easily top any pasta dish.

Kimchi Fried Rice (Bokkeumbap) on Food 52 by Spontaneous Tomato
5 forks

Other than swapping in brown rice for white and adding a little Siracha for more heat, I left this recipe as is and it was phenomenal. The rice absorbs the boiled-down asian sauces and becomes thick and full of unami. We spooned the rice onto beds of greens and topped everything with a fried egg. Not only was this recipe full of flavor and good textures, it was fast and super simple.

*Everything is rated out of 5 forks.
** All pictures come from the respective recipe creators.

Three breath taking videos on how to make gnocchi.

Gnocchi with Spinach Sauce by Domi et Cyril Sarthe

The simplicity and humility of this video is what first attracted me. After watching it, I immediately ran to the grocery to buy the ingredients for the sauce. Instead of bacon, I used mushrooms and it was absolutely decadent.

Beet Root Gnocchi with Spicy Coconut Sauce by Indian Summer

When I first read the title, I imaged bright pink gnocchi drenched in a pure white, almost alfredo-like sauce. Instead, the sauce is infused with a plethora of Indian spices and aromatics. Will be making soon.

How to make Gnocchi al Pomodoro by Saveur

A simple and traditional gnocchi dish. I’m excited to try the fresh tomato sauce.

What I made this week: a recipe review

Buckwheat Pancakes by Cookies and Kate 3 stars

The texture and density of the pancakes were spot on - which is hard with any gluten free bread recipe. The amount was perfect as well. The recipe made enough for breakfast for 2 people plus 4 leftovers to snack on later. However, we were not big fans of the strong buckwheat flavor. I really want to love buckwheat, but I am yet to find a buckwheat recipe that makes it stand out in impressive ways.

Whole Roasted Tandoori Cauliflower by My New Roots 5 stars

This has become a staple favorite in our house. Not only is it delicious, this dish is also elegant and impressive. Roasting an entire cauliflower that is smothered in a rich yellow paste, carrying it to the table steaming with strong curried aromas, and slicing it like a cake will make anyone redefine their cauliflower expectations. This is a great side dish for larger parties, or a main dish for a dinner of two. We have never made the mint chutney that Sara includes, but I am sure it is equally as delicious.

Blackbean soup by Food52 4 stars

We have beans at least once a week (read 2-4 times a week). They are cheap, easy, nutritious, and delectable. This was a quickie dinner one night when we found ourselves too hungry to spend a long time cooking. We don’t buy canned beans - but always have some precooked beans in our freezer. We also did not use the cilantro sauce, though it sounds delicious. Instead we simply topped the soup with freshly chopped cilantro.

Roasted Mackrel with aoli from Food52 2.5 stars

This dish looks great and I have wanted to give a go at making homemade aioli sauce for a while, so on my walk home from work one afternoon, I swung by the grocery and grabbed a few fillets of mackerel and a dozen eggs. My only problem with this dish is that the aioli didn’t settle well. It was loose and soggy, not creamy and fluffy - it didn’t hold together. I don’t know if this was a problem with my blender or the recipe, as I’ve never made it before. Also, it lacked in some flavor, so I added the juice of a whole lemon.

*All recipes are ranked out of 5 stars.
*All photos are from the respective recipe creators.

"When you consider that twenty-seven minutes is less time than it takes to watch a single episode of Top Chef or The Next Food Network Star, you realize that there are now millions of people who spend more time watching food being cooked on television than they spend actually cooking it themselves." —from Michael Pollan’s new book Cooked

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7 food and health related TED talks

This list began as 3 videos, then 5, and now 7. There are so many more I could add. Ted has been an amazing platform for food and health advocates to spread the word on happy living through healthy eating. The talks touch on themes such as social justice, personal health, climate change, food politics, community health, and more. This is just a brief list of a few of my favorites. If you want to see more, check out a few of TED’s food themed playlists: The joy of eating, What’s wrong with what we eat?, and Plantastic!

Mark Bittman’s What is wrong with the way we eat

Sandra Aamodt’s Why dieting doesn’t usually work

Mick Cornett’s How an obese town lost a million pounds

Jamie Oliver’s Teach every child about food

Vicki Robin’s Relational eating

Ann Cooper’s What’s wrong with school lunches

Ron Finely A guerilla gardener in South Central LA

Life - what I am aiming for.

Early morning bike rides, hard workouts, new foods, finishing a book, writing to a friend, crossing off everything on a to-do list, hugs, working hard and focused, wine with dinner, long walks around town, and good conversation.