Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Accidentally Delicious Soup

I'm all about saving money. Thanks to my mom, I've always viewed coupons and the weekly ads as  essential components of grocery shopping. Regular priced items never made it into our carts, and you could just forget the checkout line candy. Sidenote: the most delicious candy was the checkout candy bought after biking to the local grocery store, across a major road (major = any road outside of the subdivision) (sorry, dad).

In order to save money while staying well-fed, I shop the ads and "manager's specials" and have started to incorporate non-meat proteins into our diets. While my husband has always enjoyed beans and lentils, I've found them to be an acquired texture. Fortunately, a few adventures into soup, including this one, have nudged me toward these formerly shunned legumes.

During today's grocery trip, I found a package of store made pork sausage at only $1.99/pound. Sold. Of course, the sell by date was tomorrow, so I had to do something with it. Back home, I pulled dry garbanzo beans and an online recipe (credit where due), but soon discovered that I was all out of cumin AND rosemary (note to self: make shopping lists for herbs and spices...). So, I improvised. First, I pulled shawarma seasoning, but the sausage was already seasoned with green chile, and pork + middle eastern just didn't sound right. Then, I pulled a taco seasoning, but decided "nah," and "I'll just make something up." Half an hour later, I discovered that I had made the right decision (thankfully). Enjoy!

please ignore the dirty spatula...

Accidentally Delicious Soup

1 cup dried garbanzo beans
Olive oil
3/4 pound seasoned sausage, casings removed
5 cloves garlic, chopped
1-14 oz can diced tomatoes
1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
3 cups chicken broth (I used a diluted homemade concentrate, but canned would work)
2 tablespoons lemon juice
salt to taste (I used ~1/2 teaspoon)

1. Rinse and sort garbanzo beans, removing rocks or other debris, cover in 2 inches of water, soak overnight, drain. OR if you're me, rinse and sort, cover in 2 inches of water, boil for 1 minute, remove the pan from heat source, cover, soak/steep for 1 hour, drain.

2. While beans are soaking, heat a small splash (1-2 teaspoons) olive oil in a pot over medium heat, add the sausage and garlic and cook, chopping up the sausage, for about 5 minutes until browned.

3. Add the tomatoes, pepper, paprika, and onion. Reduce heat and simmer for 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

4. Add chicken broth and garbanzo beans to the pot, cover and simmer 20-25 minutes.

5. Add lemon juice, taste, and salt as needed.

Yield: Approximately 6 cups of soup



Thursday, September 11, 2014

Oven Baked Plantain Chips

Well, nearly a month later, I have returned to actually write my first food post (the cat is not food...). 

In an attempt to adopt a more healthy lifestyle, I began to make a point of buying new and different produce items. One of those items was the plantain, a relative of the banana. Unlike bananas, plantains should not be eaten raw...they do not taste good and leave an awful "green banana" feeling in your mouth afterward. Generally, green plantains will be more starchy/potato-like, and yellow/blackened ones will be sweeter and more banana-y tasting. For this recipe, I used yellow plantains, and the chips came out tasting like bananas. Pretty good. 

Simple ingredients: Plantains, and Coconut oil. The real trick here is to get the plantains sliced evenly, which, without a mandolin, can be difficult. Here's what I did:

1. Slice ends off, remove skin by making 2 cuts through the skin lengthwise down the length of the fruit. Gently remove the skin. 
2. Slice plantain into even thirds - this will make cutting the slices easier. 
3. Slice off rounds about the thickness of a nickel. Attempt to make the slices as equal as possible to ensure even cooking. 
4. Place rounds into a bowl with some melted coconut oil - about 1-2 teaspoons per plantain. Toss the rounds to coat with the oil. 
5. Pre-heat oven to "warm" - mine registered at 170 Fahrenheit. 
6. Arrange rounds in a single layer on a parchment paper lined baking sheet. They can touch at the edges, because they will shrink as they bake. 
7. Bake for ~6 hours, opening the oven every half hour or so to "vent" the moisture. Flip the rounds around the 3 hour mark. 
8. Remove to cool for a bit, store in an airtight container. 

One of two sheets, I used 3 plantains.

Slightly oily, but not bad at all.

I found some of my chips to be a bit thicker and chewy, but most of them are nice and crisp. Unfortunately, I did not take "before" pictures of the unbaked chips, but I'll likely make these again and perhaps leave something to show just how much these guys shrink. 

Here's one of ideal thickness and crispness once finished.

Special note on today, remember to pray for the families and friends who were hurt by the tragedy 13 years ago, and for the brave people who continue to serve their communities and country. 

Thursday, August 14, 2014

The very beginning

Hello world.

Let's do a little introduction.

Who: Me! Siew. Christian, wife, Michigander living in Utah (so a Utahn? Utahan? Ute?), wannabe blogger.
What: Food! I enjoy cooking, eating, and figuring out how to create healthy dishes that my husband will eat without coercion.
When: Now (and on occasion thereafter)! Been taking pictures of some plates and concoctions, so it's high time I posted them and started stretching myself to attempt new dishes.
Where: The Internet! From my Utah apartment.
Why: Why not!
How: With food, my camera, and the power of the internet!

Welcome. I will close with a picture of...Littles, the least caring cat I know.