23 February 2011

Weekday Cooking

First, let me just get out there that I hate doing the dishes. There is almost always a pile in my sink no matter how much I try to avoid leaving cleaning for another day, so I understand that my sudden surge of cooking and baking may tire you just thinking about it, but hear me out! The dinner I made yesterday took no time at all (maybe 20 minutes?) and now not only do I have leftovers, but I can avoid making more dishes for a few days!

My red curry quinoa from yesterday turned out well. I simply boiled one cup of quinoa with a 15 oz. can of lite coconut milk and a tablespoon of red curry paste. The paste was one of those pre-made Thai Kitchen concoctions and overall had great flavor. In the future I hope to experiment with some fresh flavors in the rice, like with Thai basil and lemongrass, to get more control. I also want to try using whole coconut milk, but in smaller quantity, with fat free Greek yogurt for creaminess.

While the quinoa was cooking (it's ready when it has opened up from its initial seed-like form and its little curly-Qs have been released), I made sure to have some protein and veggies alongside the quinoa. I fried some extra-firm Organic tofu that had been drained and cubed. Out of the entire package of tofu, I used probably a third of it for dinner, and so "frying it" only required a good non-stick pan and maybe half of a tablespoon of veggie oil. While it was browning, I tossed on a fair amount of ginger and garlic powder, as well as salt. I found that to be enough, but I like tofu plain, so I would say that play around with spices here. On the greener side of things, I steamed a medley of frozen veggies and then tossed in a tablespoon of peanut satay sauce I had in the fridge. I also have full intentions of experimenting with recipes until I get my own Thai-inspired peanut sauce down pat. Can't wait for that taste-testing extravaganza!

Today, since dinner was leftovers and I still had the itch to create some new yummies, I went ahead and made both pumpkin and banana bread. Both recipes were heavily modified from their original recipes, which I found on www.allrecipes.com, to be healthier. Some of the changes I made included Eggbeaters, whole wheat flour, applesauce for oil, and reducing the amount of sugar called and adding a little more vanilla extract, since it's so flavorful, yet potent. I hope to have some feedback on how the two turned out shortly and if it's positive then expect the recipes to be posted soon after!

While making the quick breads, I was struck by the notion of how much our society allows us to indulge our cravings to the extreme, whether it be salty, sweet, or spicy. Personally, I have a huge sweet tooth and so this is something that will be hard to overcome, but I'm hoping to try other more condensed and natural forms of sugar in the future in order to overall cut back on the amount of sugar in a recipe. One idea I have is adding some dried, not candied, fruits to breads for some sweetness, but not sure how versatile that option is. Maybe some day I'll even find dark chocolate to be just as satisfying as milk chocolate, but I'll be okay with leaving that as my vice, too.

And with another successful night in the kitchen and on the blog, I'm off to deliver the breads to Liron who is slaving away at lab. Oh, and Mike? Pumpkin bread is coming your way! You aren't just "the boyfriend'!

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