Having a rough night, but mango-chocolate chip crepes with whipped cream did help briefly.
Content note: diet & exercise.
Today I finally started the morning with 30 min. walking on treadmill (at 2.0 speed) while doing recipe posting (instead of sitting on couch). I’ve been meaning to get back to that for weeks, and somehow every morning I just didn’t. But today I did.
And I’m now making a batch of sherried mushrooms with Swiss for an omelette this morning + egg bites for the rest of the work week. Going to grill some shrimp later today, to toss into caesar salads, etc.
I’ve been so harried for months that all my healthy habits fell by the wayside, but am determined to get them back, esp. as clothes are getting a bit tight. Bah.
Also, this is yummier than grabbing random carbs just because they’re easy and fast, and I feel physically better if I start the day with walking — more energy throughout the day, sleep better.
Just need to slow everything down a little bit overall. Breathe.
Our Valentine’s weekend brunch, courtesy Kavya.
(How much mess was generated in this process? So much. Did we make her clean it up? Not this time — we’re mostly working on her being confident in the kitchen right now; we’ll get to ‘clean as you go’ when she’s a little steadier on the actual cooking part. Our Valentine’s present to her was silently cleaning it all up later in the day… )
Chai-Spiced Banana Bread
(serves 12, 45-75 minutes)
(for gluten-free option, use Bob’s Red Mill gluten-free 1 to 1 baking flour; used for snowflake-shaped breads below)
We are perpetually throwing overripe bananas in the freezer around here, and when they start squeezing out the other items, we know it’s time to spend a Saturday morning baking banana bread. This is based on a Cook’s Illustrated recipe. Adding in the spices we’d use for chai, along with dried fruit / ginger, makes for a festive and hearty holiday loaf. Makes 1 loaf, or several mini loaves (nice for gifting).
2 c. flour
3/4 t. baking soda
3 very ripe bananas, mashed well
1/4 c. plain yogurt
2 eggs, beaten lightly
3/4 c. sugar
6 T butter, melted and cooled
1 t. vanilla extract
1 t. cinnamon
1/2 t. salt
1/2 t. ground ginger
1/4 t. cloves
1/4 t. cardamom
1/4 t. black pepper
Optional add-ins (1 c. total): dried cherries, dried cranberries, crystallized ginger, chocolate chips, chopped cashews…
1. Preheat oven to 350. Grease and flour pan(s).
2. Mix flour and baking soda in a large bowl; set aside.
3. Combine remaining ingredients (except for optional add-ins) in medium bowl with a wooden spoon.
4. Fold banana mixture into flour mixture with a spatula until just combined. If adding in dried fruit, ginger, chocolate chips or nuts, fold in now.
5. Scrape batter into prepared pan(s) until loaf is golden brown and toothpick inserted into center comes out clean, about 1 hr for a loaf, 25-35 minutes for mini loaves.
6. Serve hot, slathered with salted butter.
Sri Lankan-style egg bites, done in the sous vide — delicious. it was very satisfying finding a way to make my favorite egg breakfast in egg bite form. The sweetness of the onion, the flavorful heat of the green chilies, all wrapped in unctuous egg and creamy cheese — perfection!
10 minutes active cooking time, serves 7.
1 T ghee or butter
1 medium onion, chopped fine
1-2 green chilies, chopped fine
3 oz. cream cheese
1 t. salt
1 t black pepper
extra equipment: 7 4 oz. / 125 ml canning jars with 2-part screw on lids
1. Fill sous vide cooker with water and set to 172 F.
2. Sauté onion and green chili in ghee until golden.
3. In a blender, combine eggs, cream cheese, salt, and pepper until smooth.
4. Distribute onion-chili mixture evenly among seven canning jars, and follow with evenly distributed egg mixture.
5. Attach lids and close to fingertip tightness — do not over-tighten.
6. Once closed, submerge jars in water bath and set timer for 1 hr.
Serve warm — I eat them straight from the jar, generally, but you can also slide a butter knife around the jar, invert onto a plate, and broil or sear with a torch for color if you’d like a fancier presentation. They reheat easily in the microwave (no lid!) for about a minute on low heat. Enjoy!
Happy Pongal! Pongal is a four-day-long harvest festival celebrated in Tamil Nadu and Sri Lanka (this year it’s Tues Jan 15 – Fri Jan 18) — when crops like rice are harvested. Yes, it’s a little goofy celebrating it in Chicago in midwinter, but any excuse to celebrate, right?
I haven’t made pongal (rice & lentil porridge) before, but I think it came out pretty well. A quick, simple, one-pot dish, packed with protein, that would be even better accompanied by a nice curry –– eggplant, perhaps? Coconut chutney and sambar are traditional accompaniments.
20 minutes, serves 4
1 c. rice
1 c. moong dal
4 c. water
1/2 t. salt
2 T butter or ghee
1/2 c. cashews
1/2 c. sultanas
1 t. cumin seeds
8-12 fresh curry leaves
1-2 green chilies, chopped, optional
1. Add rice, dal, water, and salt to a pot. Bring to a boil, cover, and let simmer 15-20 minutes, until cooked.
2. While rice is cooking, heat butter or ghee, sauté cashews, stirring, until golden. Add cumin seeds, sultanas, curry leaves, and green chili if using, stirring for a few more minutes. Mix into cooked rice & lentils and serve hot.
Other standard ingredients: chopped ginger, pinch of asafoetida, turmeric, black peppercorns (whole or crushed).
I can’t take credit for this recipe — I pretty much followed the instructions on the Anovo website for egg bites, using leeks instead of scallions, because I happened to have them on hand. But I’ll say that it was yum.
Very delicate, roasting the peppers — honestly, I think I’d be fine with using raw peppers in this, for more of a fresh bite. And I’d probably use a little more cheese, a bit more black pepper, for some more oomph. But the general concept, good.
Nice to take fifteen minutes on the weekend to prep, one hour in the sous vide, and then have six warm eggy breakfasts for the week to come, that you can just grab and eat with a spoon, or decant (maybe over some fresh spring greens, lightly dressed) for a slightly fancier presentation.
In general, I’m trying to do more weekend prep to make healthy meals easy during the week. Egg bites, white wine-poached chicken, grilled shrimp, etc. It’s a bit of a process, adapting, but I think it’ll make my life easier during the semester.