Never quite follows the recipe. Doesn't really measure. Tastes with her fingers. Somehow, it always works.

Women of the World, Read this/Eat this

Posted: April 20th, 2009 | Author: johanna | Filed under: Johanna | 2 Comments »

Women of the world, I have created The. Perfect. PMS. Food!!!
It’s also the perfect food for being home alone on a rainy, windy, cold wet night after yoga.

I tried to take a photo, but it just looked lumpy. But this dish is the best food evs. I promise. Get a pen, make a shopping list.
1/2 cup arborio rice (or whatever’s left in the bottom of the bag if you’re Joh)
1 1/2 cup milk
1/2-1 cup water (as needed)
1 1/2 tablespoons butter, divided use
Salt to taste
Brown sugar to taste.

Before you start with the “Bitch, not another effing risotto“, just wait. Trust Joh.
1. Heat up a cup and a half of milk, and half a cup of water in a small pot. Don’t let it boil – it will scald and make a mess of the bottom of the pot.
2. Melt a tablespoon of butter in a frying pan. Don’t let it get foamy.
3. Add the rice, and stir around so that things get all coated in the fat. This is just like risotto.
4. Start adding the milk/water by about half-cupfuls. You may need more, just add a little water to the milk in the pot. It’s ok.
5. When the rice has absorbed as much milk as it can, you’ll know. It’ll taste smushy. And delish. Also, the last addition of milk won’t actually absorb all the way. It’ll just sort of stay soupy, with the rice’s starch helping suspend the rice granules in the milk.
6. Add the last half-tablespoon of butter, off the heat. Mix it in. Then, start adding brown sugar and salt until you’re satisfied with the flava.
You don’t want to salt the risotto before it’s done cooking. You want to really taste the clash of the salt and the brown sugar. This is the beauty of this dish. There’s the creaminess of the risotto texture. And the milky addition. And the sweet/salty thing. Plus, it’s warm, and you don’t end up with a casserole dish full of the leftover, which makes it better than rice pudding.
I’m not going to lie, this pretty much serves 2 people. But, I’m eating it all myself.
Jesse’s loss for being out working on his bike and drinking beer.

Sucka!!! :)

From Calzone to Chicken

Posted: April 19th, 2009 | Author: johanna | Filed under: Johanna | 17 Comments »

I’m back after a crazy weekend, kicked off by ricotta, goat cheese, arugula and slow-roasted tomato calzones. These were ultimately a learning experience. The pizza dough, goat cheese, ricotta and tomatoes were all good. The arugula was much softer than I would have liked. It pretty much steamed in the crust, which is not what we’re really going for. Next time I’ll pick a different vegetable to go with the lovely slow-roasted tomatoes. I need to figure out how to better combine the textures of the various cheeses. Because the goat cheese didn’t get adequately melty, nor did the parmesan get stringy enough. Just wasn’t exactly the squishy, cheesy comfort food I was looking for in a big way on Friday night. But the crust…. was delish, as always.
Tonight’s fried chicken was maybe a little better than usual. Maybe the same. The chicken was really juicy, and the breading was pretty good. I used mostly flour, a double-dredge, as usual with egg. But instead of panko I added regular seasoned breadcrumbs, to the second flour dredge. I also separated the chicken legs myself, because Fresh Direct’s bulk pack of chicken legs has the thighs and drums connected. So, I played butcher and split quite a few chicken leg joints this week. Shockingly satisfying, although I don’t think I’d want to take up a career in butchery any time soon. I roasted some potatoes, onions, garlic and sweet potatoes to go with, which is pretty nice considering that typically I’d make a big pot of mashed potatoes full of butter and cream to go with this lovely fried dinner. But tonight, oh no! Tonight, before I have to go do 5 straight days of workout this week, I ate healthy, roasted potatoes WITH their skins. Healthy healthy healthy.

Andrew Knowlton and Donatella Arpaia bitched at each other on Iron Chef. The chef from the Spotted Pig got a perfect on taste, which was amazing to see, especially since all the judges couldn’t agree on ANYTHING.
I’m sick of Food Network Challenge. Quite.

Just for you:

Posted: April 13th, 2009 | Author: johanna | Filed under: beans, burgers, cheap, delish, quick, vegetarian | 31 Comments »

Have you found yourself lately thinking, “Y’know, I wish that Joh would post some fun, delicious, progressive recipes for us vegetarians” ?? Have you wondered what in heck you’d eat were you to come to a cookout at my place and not be able to stomach a burger, hotdog, or steak? Are you just hoping that I’ve finally updated this stinkin’ thing, so you can comment on my fabulosity once again??

You’re in LUCK!!!

Tonight, through a convergence of circumstances that can most accurately be described as “shite”, we had a delicious, nutritious, vegetarian dinner! BlackBean Burgers, with mango chutney!!
THey were delish. Seriously. And so easy!!
1 can black beans, rinsed and drained.
1 tablespoon onion flake reconstituted, or some chopped onion/shallot. Basically by 1 tablespoon, I mean a handful, thrown in a prep bowl with some water to get all fresh again.
chili powder
garlic powder
dried parsley

Everything after the onion should be added to taste. Except the breadcrumbs, which should be a shallow palmful. Less, if you have big palms. You’ll have to come measure my palms to get something exact, suckas!!!!!
For those who’ve been reading along, this is a LOT like my falafel procedure. Smash up or food process the black beans, then add the seasonings and breadcrumbs and process again. Or smash again.

I dusted the patties with a little flour, and pan-fried them in a little vegetable oil (strained from my latest fried pickle exploits….nomnomNOM) until they were crispy on the outside and warm through. I put them on toasted Sandwich Thins, which are by far the most amazing inventions of mankind since fork-split English Muffins. I smeared the bottom of the bun with Mango Chutney that I had in the fridge, and it was heavenly.
These are really good. I’d post a picture, but right now Jesse is using the USB cable to help him build the site for our SuperSecretSideProject, which will be awesome. :) I promise.

For now, consider making black bean burgers. They’re delish. And cheap. very cheap. And when you’ve just smashed your lovely French Press by knocking it over in an attempt to not break anything else on your countertop….. cheap, tasty, healthy dinner is always for the win. :)


Posted: April 8th, 2009 | Author: johanna | Filed under: Johanna | 20 Comments »

My name is Joh, and I’m a reactionary baker.
Today I got some really frustrating news. I won’t go into it too far, but suffice it to say that something I had done 3 weeks ago and followed up on last week didn’t actually get received. So for all my best efforts, it’s now still a waiting game.
Oh well.

When I got bad news as a kid, I’d cry. I’d get upset, I’d freak out, I’d break down. Since Pop died and we were all so starved for something more comforting than lemon cake, even though the lemon cakes were all lovely, I’ve turned to baking chocolate chip cookies. Or baking, in general. That’s what I did tonight.
I heard some frustrating news, and immediately set about baking cookies.
I used this recipe from Smitten Kitchen and I made these cookies:
I used more salt than the recipe calls for, because the last time I made them, they weren’t salty enough for me. I used Turbinado sugar instead of plain white sugar, because it’s all we had. And they have a lovely, soft-yet-grainy texture that I’m quite pleased with. I also dropped an egg on the floor of the kitchen for the first time, literally, in years.
THis is a big thing.
My mom, who reads but rarely comments, can attest to the fact that in my younger days, I was a capital K-klutz, knocking into doorknobs, knocking over canisters of sprinkles or colored sugar during Christmas Cookie time, basically dropping or falling over anything I could. The fact that I now cook proficiently and don’t cut myself or drop/smash things all the time is a minor miracle. Which might be why it was so frustrating that I dropped this egg on the floor. Especially since all I wanted from it was the yolk anyways. I always feel like I’m wasting an egg when I only use the white, or only use the yolk. And so I wasted TWO eggs tonight, because I dropped one and used the yolk from one. Argh.
But, the cookies are good and someday my life will stop throwing me curveballs. at least for one at-bat.

speaking of which, let’s go red sox!!!

Quickly, quickly

Posted: April 6th, 2009 | Author: johanna | Filed under: Johanna | 14 Comments »

So I’ve been in a bit of a funk lately. Just a little down.
So tonight, on a whim, at 9pm I started baking pretzels. I’m insane. I know it, it’s ok.
I think I really needed to do some yeast cookery. I haven’t made bread since February. And really really…. I miss it. So, this was a good move. They’re delicious.

Just try it. I don’t know what the soda solution bath does. I brushed mine with butter and sprinkled them with salt before I baked them. I support this method. Do it.


Fun facts:
Contrary to popular opinion, these are not difficult. The only difficult thing is the folding of the pretzel. And if you’re not bothered by fugly pretzels (I’m not) even that’s not hard!! You just make a long, skinny snake out of pretzel dough (don’t flour your board/counter. your dough will be sticky, but if you flour, it’ll fall apart.) and then make an upside-down U with the pretzel, so the ends are pointing at you. Pick up the tails, cross left over right, and smash down into the upside-down U part. Done.
Don’t salt them if you’re planning to have left-overs. The salt makes them mushy and a little…. wet. It’s odd.
OR, just eat them all in one go. This also works. :)