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Potato Leek Soup

Wow, it’s been a a while since I posted a recipe! I actually made this soup almost four weeks ago– right after the Saturday Farmer’s Market reopened. Everything in this soup was from the farmers market, except for the bacon. Sad to say, that piggy was factory-raised. (I’m currently trying to cut down on my non-organic meat consumption, which has lead to an almost vegetarian state. It’s kind of interesting! Good for my karma and my carbon footprint.)

:Ingredients:

  • .25 lb bacon, cut into 1″ strips
  • 1 whole leek, sliced thinly (feel free to use the green leaves– they take more washing, but I think they’re tasty!)
  • 4 2-3″ diameter new potatoes, cut into .25″ slices
  • 2-4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp ground dried thyme, or 1 sprig stripped and minced
  • .5 tsp paprika
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 cup yogurt
  • salt and white pepper to taste

In a large saucepan over medium heat, saute the bacon until it starts looking crispy and it has given up most of its fat. Add the leeks and garlic, and allow them to start caramelizing– once they start to look golden around the edges, remove the bacon, leeks and garlic from the pan, retaining the grease. Lightly fry the potatoes in the grease. Once the potatoes start to soften, pour off excess grease and return the bacon and the allium (the leeks and garlic!) to the pan. Allow to cook together for another minute or so, then add the water, seasonings, and the yogurt. Stir to combine. Cover and drop heat to a low simmer. Allow to cook for another 20 minutes or so, until the potatoes are quite soft. Lightly mash potatoes with a fork until they are broken into small pieces throughout the soup. Taste test for salt and pepper.

Serve hot on a cold day, or cold on a hot day. A satisfying soup– the yogurt keeps it from becoming too heavy.

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Banana Pancakes“Can’t you see that it’s just rainin’,

ain’t no need to go outside…”

The song “Banana Pancakes” has been stuck in my head all day long. How do I combat it? I make some, of course! But, since it’s Jack Johnson, I added a little twist to make it more interesting.

:Ingredients:

  • 2 cups AP flour (1 cup mochiko rice flour, .5 cup tapioca flour, .5 cup potato flour)
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 very ripe bananas, well mashed
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar
  • .5 tsp ground ginger (if you have fresh ginger, grate in a few swipes– careful though, it’s strong!)

Combine wet and dry ingredients in seperate bowls, and then combine by adding wet to dry, and then mixing thoroughly.

Heat a frying pan/ griddle over medium heat. Grease with a little butter (for flavor); dishing out about .33 cups of batter at a time, cook pancakes on the first side until bubbles towards the center of the cakes pop and stay open. Flip and cook side two for about a minute to a minute and a half.

Serve with your favorite fruit, jam, or syrup.

Still Life with Shark and Ramen

(The shark is Delilah. I got her for Christmas.)

Ramen: the ubiquitous college food, a mass of dehydrated noodles served with a little packet of super-salty seasoning powder in such amazing flavors as “Yellow Meat”, “Pink Meat”, and “MSG Delight”. Instant ramen noodles rank alongside deep-fried tennis sneakers on the nutritional scale, and the mere mention of them causes cardiologists nationwide to reach compulsively for their perscription pads. Sure, the “fancier” ramen (read: served in styrofoam cup or bowl, easily microwavable) comes with little freeze-dried orange and green things, questionably referred to as carrots and peas.However, in all honesty, these do little other than imparting a vaguely compost-y note to the otherwise salt-flavored broth.

Now Morgan, I’m sure you’re all saying, where are you planning to go with this? Is there a point to this seemingly pointless rant? A method to your madness?

Uncaring readership! Says I, You fail to comprehend, even after all I have written?! Ramen sucks! And yet we continue to shovel it down our throats!

Yes, and? comes the derisive reply.

The point I’m trying to make is, ramen doesn’t have to suck! And no, before there’s a huge uprising, I’m not suggesting that you spend more than five minutes or sixty-five cents on your bowl of noodles.  Just a little bit of consideration.

Base Ingredient:

  • One (1)  packet instant ramen noodles, your choice of flavor

Additions (in any combination):

  • Baby spinach leaves
  • Sesame oil
  • Bell pepper
  • Tomato
  • Garlic
  • Egg
  • Onion
  • Mushrooms (dried are fine, as long as you let them sit in the broth to re-hydrate)
  • Dried shrimp
  • Steamed carrots
  • Chili powder
  • Lime juice
  • Etc. etc. etc

The list could go on forever, but I don’t have the attention span for that kind of thing. The fact is, instant ramen doesn’t have to be boring, bland, and void of anything resembling nutritional content.  We don’t just eat to fill our stomachs;  we eat to exercise our senses! STOP TAKING A BACKSEAT POSITION ON WHAT YOU SHOVE DOWN YOUR CAKE HOLE!!!

*pantpantpant* Sorry, got a little carried away there. But I think I’ve made my point. Got it? Now go out and practise it!

(Image from One Big Kitchen)

That’s right. Three exclamation points. What is the reason for such exuberance, you may rightly ask?

Anthony Bourdain’s No Reservations: The Pacific Northwest episode.

I found it while poking around on YouTube, land of all things bizarre and viral, and it really epitomizes why I moved up here, and why you’ll have to pry my cold, dead fingers from the streetcar railings when I’m gone. It explores the amazing variety of fresh ingredients, the passion that chefs up here exhibit for their art, the crazy and friendly atmosphere, and the grungy, anything-goes attitude.

He visits Portland, Seattle, and the Puget Sound, and finds amazing food everywhere he goes. Unsurprising to those of us who live here; we know that good food is only a few doors down, a few blocks away. There’s really no need to go to Pizza Hut when you’ve got Apizza Scholls, or even Hot Lips, just a streetcar ride away. I’ve been to NYC twice, and I can honestly say that I’ve found more good food, more affordably here in Portland, than anywhere in the big Apple. (I’m sure there’re places I haven’t seen. Want to prove me wrong? I’ll gladly fly over there to be gastronomically escorted around the city.)

Check out the episode. It’s definitely worth the look!

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4

Part 5

I feel so inspired! Maybe I’ll actually get around to submitting a recipe this week!

Turkey Pancakes

Last time I posted a pancake recipe, it was served with a heavy side of moral indignation. Since then I’ve left my entirely gluten-free household and am now free to use wheat flour– and so, I have a whole new recipe to give you guys.

On Monday I had a whole bunch of left-over turkey from Thanksgiving, as well as a nice pile of veggies calling “eat me, Morgan, eeeeeaaaaat meeeee….” I also had a craving for pancakes. Combine the two and you get… Turkey pancakes? Well, I was crazy (and hungry) enough to try it.

I know your skeptical eyebrow is getting a wee workout here. Everyone altogether, “Turkey pancakes?” (Insert the sound of many eyebrows being hefted simultaneously towards the upper regions of the stratosphere) “Isn’t that a little… Nineteen sixties?” Yes my friends, it does sound like something you’d find in Ladie’s Home Journal, or the ’65 re-printing of the Joy of Cooking, right next to the steps for skinning squirrels, but lets take a step back. Turkey: good; Veggies (in this case celery):good; Pancakes: double plus good.

So here we have the exquisite pancakes, which, despite anything your logic or inner rebellious child of the eighties tells you, are darn Good Ea– (interrupted but severe looking man in black suit, who hands over a paper) My legal team informs me that it would be copyright infringement to finish that phrase. They also tell me to stop watching cooking shows and go jogging every once in a while. (Crumples up paper) Well, I’ll just say that these pancakes are damn tasty. Weird but good, just like so many wonderful things in life.

(For those who want it, I’ll post my Gluten-Free recipe at the end of this, so you don’t have to sift through my moralistic mumbo-jumbo to find it in my other post.)

:Ingredients:

  • 1.5 cups AP flour
  • 3.5 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp white sugar
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3 tbsp of melted butter

:Toppings:

  • 1 cup cold turkey, shredded
  • 1 cup celery, thinly sliced

Combine the dry goods, then dig a little well in the center of them and pour in the wet ingredients. Stir to combine, but try not to over-mix. Gluten strands make for tough pancakes.

Heat a frying pan or griddle, lightly greased, over medium-high heat. Scoop on batter, .25 cup for a smaller pancake, .33 cup for a larger one. When bubbles towards the edges of the pancake burst and stay open, add a large pinch each of the turkey and the celery, to cover the bottoms of the cakes. Wait about a minute longer, then flip. Cook that side until golden brown and serve.

Serve with gravy, or mustard, or cranberry sauce, or raspberry jam, or syrup, or honey or…. (On and on and on)

If you want a slightly more orthodox pancake, replace the turkey and celery with grated cheddar cheese. Cook and serve as you would with the turkey.

GLUTEN FREE RECIPE:

:Ingredients:

  • 1.5 cups gluten-free baking mix (1.5 cups AP flour + .5 tsp baking powder)
  • .5 cup milk
  • 6 eggs
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • .5 tsp salt

Combine dry and wet ingredients in separate bowls. Add wet to dry, stirring only as much as is necessary to fully integrate the two. Cook quarter cup portions of the batter on a hot griddle until bubbles pop and stay open towards the center of the pancake. Flip and cook for another minute on the reversed side.

Serve with jam, syrup, kumquats, cherry pie filling, lizards, or pickled herring.

Cheddar Tomato Risotto

I got out of my history class today and said to myself “Well, I’m going to make risotto!” And so I did. Simple as that.

Risotto is a fine food for a rainy day.

(Sorry I’ve been flaky about posting. Midterms suck.)

:Ingredients:

  • 3 tbsp butter
  • .5 cup finely diced carrots
  • .5 cup finely diced celery
  • .5 cup finely diced onion
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 3 cups plus 1 cup water
  • 2 tsp salt
  • a few grinds fresh black pepper
  • 1 cup rice
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

Melt one of the tablespoons of butter in a large pan. Add onion, celery, and carrot and cook over medium low heat until the celery is transparent. Add three cups of water, the tomato paste, and the spices, stirring to thoroughly combine. Allow mixture to simmer until reduced by a third. Add rice, stirring occasionally. Once you start to see the bottom of the pan when you stir, stir constantly from that point on. If the risotto starts to stick to the pan too much, add a splash of water. Keep stirring until it takes on a creamy, thick consistancy and the rice is thoroughly cooked. Add the remaining two tablespoons of butter and the cheddar cheese, and stir to combine.

Serve as a side dish, or as a main course. I had mine with a fresh pear, and called it lunch.

This is a refreshing dish to serve with a spicy meal. Pair with some granola and yohgurt for breakfast.

:Ingredients:

  • 1 lb of melon, cut into less than 1 inch chunks (honeydew, cantaloupe, or watermelon)
  • the juice of 1 lemon
  • 1tbsp of honey
  • 1/4 cup finely minced fresh mint leaves

Microwave the honey for 20 seconds. Whisking briskly, add honey to lemon juice until thoroughly combined. In a large bowl, toss melon chunks with mint leaves and the honey-lemon dressing. Let rest for at least fifteen minutes before serving.

Enjoy.

I promised you crepes ages ago, and I’m finally getting down to posting my recipe up here! I made some just this weekend for my roommate and me. Sorry about the wait, luvlies, but here the recipe is now!

(No pic. Mucho appologies, but we ate them before I could photo them.)

:Ingredients:

  • 1 cup AP flour (or .33 cup mochi rice flour, .33 cup potato starch, .33 cup tapioca starch)
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 pinch salt
  • butter (to cook)

Combine wet ingredients and dry ingredients separately, add wet to dry to combine. Ladle off .25 cup portions into a hot buttered round frying pan, and swirl pan to evenly coat the bottom. When edges just start to brown and pull away from pan, flip crepe. Cook for twenty seconds on second side, then transfer to a plate. Roll immediately, or serve with a selection of fillings for your diners to choose from.

If you let this mixture sit, it will get steadily thicker. If you let it sit for more than an hour, you may have to thin it with a little milk.

The rule is roughly 2 eggs per person, with .25 cup milk and .25 cup flour per egg.

Fill with sweet or savory, enjoy hot or cold.

(Don’t you love our classy cutlery?)

A recipe at long last! Actually, I went on a cooking binge this weekend and have several recipes to bequeathe unto y’all. This one here I made for Sunday night dinner. My roommate and I had gone to the Farmers Market (just a few blocks from our dorm! Yay!) and I bought some lovely wild-caught CoHo Salmon. That was the last week they were selling it… But it was so tasty!

Anywho, here’s my recipe for Basil Parmesan Encrusted Salmon.

:Ingredients:

  • 1 lb fresh salmon
  • 1 cup bread crumbs (I’ve said this before but will say it again for those who are just joining us; crushed gluten-free pretzels make very good bread crumbs)
  • .5 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • .5 tsp salt
  • five large basil leaves, minced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced very fine

Combine breadcrumbs with seasoning. Rub thoroughly into salmon to create a complete crust over the meat. Allow to rest, at least five minutes. Pan fry over medium heat until both sides are crispy and brown. (About 2-5 minutes per side, depending on thickness of salmon, your preference for doneness, etc. Bread crumbs do help to keep the fish moist, but overcooking is still not encouraged.)

Enjoy with fresh salad, golden fried potatoes, and good company.

Barbara’s macaroni and cheese. I like to put a little Dijon mustard in it to add more flavor.I had it for lunch (and dinner) yesterday, before my roommate Sarah and I went swing dancing. Fun!

And yes, I do eat my macaroni and cheese with chopsticks.