It Grows In Snack Form

This post’s feaured veggie may grow in snack form but personally I don’t find it to have that raw appeal. But then I really don’t care for the majority of my vegetables raw and… Ugh… crunchy. Just… No.

But my favorite preparation of these little guys is to sautee with garlic, tomatoes, a squeeze of lemon, and a dash of soy sauce (with salt & pepper) until tender but still crisp to the bite. And no, I’m not talking about bugs. I’m talking about the hard to destroy: Green Bean!

 

BBQ Flavored Crispy Green Beans

BBQ Flavored Crispy Green Beans

Roasted Garlic Green Beans with Lemon

Roasted Garlic Green Beans with Lemon

Sesame Garlic Green Beans

Sesame Garlic Green Beans

Oven-Baked Green Bean  Fries with Garlic Aioli

Oven-Baked Green Bean Fries with Garlic Aioli

Green Bean Casserole (Warning: I looked at the receipe and even though I may talk smack about all those food-free dishes I've been an Adventist long enough to know that in this case it probably works.)

Green Bean Casserole (Warning: I looked at the receipe and even though I may talk smack about all those food-free dishes I’ve been an Adventist long enough to know that in this case it probably works.)

Green Bean Mushroom Tart with Blue Cheese and Crispy Shallots

Green Bean Mushroom Tart with Blue Cheese and Crispy Shallots

Green Bean Salad with Herb-Tahini Dressing and Toasted Almonds

Green Bean Salad with Herb-Tahini Dressing and Toasted Almonds

Half A Salad with a Full Garden

Last summer I was getting all fancy with the gardening and the fresh stuff and piles and piles of lettuce to show for all my hard work. Thanks to my appaent inability to withold memories I went and planted flowers and herbs on top of where the end of last year’s crop went to seed. So what happened? Rogue lettuce. EVERYWHERE. It was growing out of the drainpipe hole at the end of the garden bed. It was springing up from between the cracks in the sidewalk. It was sort of grow up and through a rock?? And that’s not even the worst part. The worst part is that even with all that crazy ninja lettuce popping up everywhere and messing up my carefully planned out herb garden I’ve gotten about 10 good leaves from the lot of them.

On the bright side (in the back where we get more sun) I’ve had so many tomatoes that the only thing I could think of after a while was to cut them in hlf and throw them in the oven so I could at least have something that still tasted like tomato and would turn to black goo on the countertop. I really hate it when tomatoes go bad. It’s super gross.

But all those poor tomatoes I just didn’t rescue in time aside, I was left with only half a salad since I was strangely without any other ingredients to help make any salad I made be more than just chopped tomatoes with salt. It takes a special tomato to be delicious without some sort of additional lubricant with taste.

Here is a picture of tomatoes.

Here is a picture of tomatoes.

But between work and more work and my entire fammily deserting me for the island homelands I have had very little to eat except vegetables for the last month. It all happened because my dear mother finished her radiation treatments (yay!) and it ended with a really really big last minute party where I tried to grill outside. Thinking I’d try something new for a big crowd I attempted making burgers. Like real burgers. The kind with meat cooked on an open flame. Well over charcoal.

For those of you who don’t know: I was raised vegetarian. At some point the family became pescatarian but even fish is a rare occurence at Chez Tobing. I have left behind those meatless way for almost a decade now but even today I don’t cook meat. So me deciding to try cooking burgers for a party was probably the worst idea. They didn’t turn out awful. Just not great. The black bean burgers I mixed up, however, turned out amazing and I’ve even made this receipe since. I usually make my own aioli with vegenaise, fresh crushed garlic, lime, and sriracha. I had also posted the burger recipe last year in “Keeping it Veggie“:

Black Bean Burgers with a Smoky Red Pepper Spread

Black Bean Burgers with a Smoky Red Pepper Spread

But alongside the semi-successful burger project I grilled about 5 billion pounds of fresh stuff: Eggplane, zucchini, yellow squash, onions, OKRA!, bell peppers, asparagus, baby bell peppers, portabello mushrooms, sweet potatoes, corn… You put the grilled veggies on a toasted bun with the aioli and a still cripsy-on-the-outside black bean burger (or a marinated and grilled portabellow mushroom if you prefer) and that makes for a good party! In the future, though, I think I’ll leave the regular burgers to a professional. The afterparty of this whole affair was me sitting on the sofa eating nothing but roasted vegetable sandwiches for the next week while watching “Chuck” and drinking the remains of my homemade “Make Your Own Juice Bar”. My favorite was the sparkling  Persian Lime with an extra shot of sweetness from the ginger simple syrup.

In honor of the vegetables (and “fruit”. That’s right, I’m looking at you tomatoes!) that kept me alive while living alone for the last month I’m dedicating the next series of posts with all the wonderful ways to eat them!

Grilled Portobello Mushroom Burgers (from SkinnyTaste)

Grilled Portobello Mushroom Burgers

GatroPorn Menu: July.2013

GatroPorn Menu: July.2013

It is getting far too hot outside for my tastes. Mid-90’s and the humidity is on the rise. I keep forgetting every spring that my hair does not do well in humidity and so I don’t preemptively get it cut in time for the great *poof* that becomes my hair in the DC summers. And in addition to that the temperature of one’s food can make a difference to the comfort levels in this god-awful heat.

I love Thanksgiving and Christmas because I often associate the two holidays with a large amount of cooking and eating and partying. I’m not the greatest fan on the patriotic holidays because the types of foods do not create insane food memories of intense bliss in my head. But there are still foods that can excite my palate during the summer holidays… Here is a menu with a few of them along with a couple new items I’m keen to try this month:

Boozy Sweet Tea

“Boozy Sweet Tea” from Dessert for Two
(Click HERE for “Peach-Infused Moonshine” Recipe)

Parmesan Tuiles with Heirloom Tomato Salad

“Parmesan Tuiles with Heirloom Tomato Salad” from Food & Wine

New Potato Salad with Garlic Mayonnaise and Cress

“New Potato Salad with Garlic Mayonnaise and Cress” from JamieOliver.com

Mediterranean Sliders

“Mediterranean Sliders” from Athenos (there’s something to be said for good advertising!)

Vegetable Kebabs

“Vegetable Kebabs” from Epicurious

Berry & Fruit Popsicles

“Berry & Fruit Popsicles” from Call Me Cupcake!

GastroPorn Menu: June.2013

GastroPorn Menu: June.2013

It’s getting warm and slightly uncomfortable weather wise but things are also growing in the garden and we’re planning to get an umbrella for our back yard so we can actually enjoy our outdoor furniture. Now if only my back yard looked a little something like this:

Santorini-blue-and-white-paradise

This month’s menu is inspired by a little Mediterranean Island sun. Meant to be enjoyed outside with with lots of loud friends and family.

Goat Cheese with Olives, Lemon, and Thyme

“Goat Cheese with Olives, Lemon, and Thyme” From Leite’s Culinaria

Beefsteak Tomato Salad

“Beefsteak Tomato Salad” from Martha Stewart

Eggplant Salad with Chickpeas and Feta

“Eggplant Salad with Chickpeas and Feta” from Martha Stewart

Mini Spiced Chicken Burgers with Mint Greek Yogurt

“Mini Spiced Chicken Burgers with Mint Greek Yogurt” from Applemint

Zucchini Patty Sandwiches

“Zucchini Patty Sandwiches” from Whole Living

Lamb

“Lamb” from Joseph De Leo Photography

Baked Sweet Potato Fries with Honey-Lime Dip

“Baked Sweet Potato Fries with Honey-Lime Dip” from Our Best Bites

Lime, Yoghurt and Olive Oil Cake

“Lime, Yoghurt and Olive Oil Cake” from Simple Provisions

Honey-Ricotta Turnovers

“Honey-Ricotta Turnovers” from Martha Stewart

Eat More Lunches!

Asaltado Vegetariano (Sitr-Fried Vegetable Sandwich)

“Asaltado Vegetariano (Sitr-Fried Vegetable Sandwich)” from Saveur

With school out for the summer and me being the only one that still has to come to campus I’m pretty much on my own for lunches. Usually it’s a much more communal effort to get everyone a packed lunch in the morning but now it’s just me and that means I’m so much less willing to put forth a lot of effort. But food is important and lunch is especially so in my book. After trying to get students through final exams, worrying about the next batch of students on the way in the fall, and only recently getting over the horrible illness of doom that had me practically strapping a box of tissues and a bag of cough drops to my hips for easy access… Well I let a few things get away from me and I gained a few pounds so it’s back to the routine and restarting the fencing training and hopefully the swimming circuit for the rest of the summer to make sure I don’t let the situation get the better of me. And, since having recently eaten and what I do behind closed doors with my earphones on isn’t exactly conducive, I can’t eat dinner until afterwards so lunch is important. I’m sure there are rules about all this stuff but since when have I ever followed the rules knowingly? So sandwiches and salads are on the menu along with my homemade bottles of chilled karkadé(which I talk more about in my previous post “Bug Juice“).

If Only Buying Salad Were As Easy

Romaine, Radicchio, and Endive Salad

“Romaine, Radicchio, and Endive Salad” from Martha Stewart

It’s now exactly one week until my contract ends in this job. The feelers are out and the applications have been sent and the interviews they have begun. I am so excited about a potential change in job that the only thing that has killed my joy is remembering all the stuff I’ll need to get in order before I leave if things work out. I’m really hoping I won’t have to sign my next contract in the middle of it all.

And because there are things to be done I had to procrastinate at least a little to make sure that I felt productive for at least part of my day. So I’ve been very busy punching holes into old papers and putting them into binders, buying comic books and graphic novels, organizing the folders on my work computer, browsing the latest literature on Amazon.com, eating lunch… Well attempting to, anyways.

I decided to start my lunch with the salad that some family member had packed yesterday and not taken to work/school. It seemed like a perfectly nice salad. I put in some dressed and shook up the container and then tried a bite. Tasted… not right. Not rotten but not like salad. It tasted like chili peppers. I don’t like chili peppers. And as I ate a few more bites the worse it got and the more I thought to myself: Worst Salad Day Ever…

And thus I ceased eating the salad and drank a bottle of water to try and get the taste out of my mouth. Still not sure what was going on there. I can eat hot foods but I really don’t like the flavor. Especially in my salad. Now, if only buying a new salad to go along with my lunch break of buying new comic books were easy across the board. a few clicks here a password linked to a debit card there and viola! Salad!

But it seems that salad is not to be on the menu today… Sigh. And I was really looking forward to that.