Monday, September 27, 2010

These are a few of my favorite things.....

No,no, its not what you think .. you will find no posts about my love for raindrops on roses, whiskers on kittens, bright copper kettles or warm woolen mittens.  This is a food blog after all.....

While catching up with my good friend A.M. over golf on Friday, I was asked the one question that I find the hardest to answer... "What is your favorite food/ recipe to make?"  How can I narrow down such a question?!  My food obsessed brain immediately breaks it down into categories: Country of origin, type of meal (breakfast, dinner or snack....), recipe for one or holiday pot-luck-go-to-favorite... so many options!!!

I thought instead of rambling endlessly to my friend who would have no choice but to think I had a mental break with my continuous rantings of whether or not I like KQ's lasagna better than Steak Florentina from Mimo in Firenze. I would share with you all here on SF some of my favorite things.  Please feel free to add in your own.in the comment sections.  I hope you enjoy the list! (After a full day of looking at what I wanted to add, I have decided that this list is going to be split into several posts. There are just too many yummy things out there for me to list it all in one post, plus we haven't even broached the topic favorite places to eat out!).

Before we get started perhaps I should clarify that I LOVE reading cookbooks, food websites and watching hours upon hours of the Food Network & the Cooking Channel.  Due to that constant onslaught of food information my brain is always thinking about the next meal, how can I adapt it to meet my cravings and what I have onhand.  Here are a few things you should know about my cooking outlook and favorite ingredients:
    • I love preparing dinner... There is something so calming about chopping veggies after a long day.
    • I think you can (and should) start 90% of all meals with sauteed onions & garlic
    • I have on occasion reinvented leftovers into 3 separate meals in one week
    • Canned beans are your friend.. hot or cold, seasoned or straight up these tasty nuggets of protein & fiber are the perfect addition to many meals!
    • When in doubt make it into a soup
    • Slow cooking = good cooking
    • Brown rice will rock your world!
    • Sometimes in life you just have to go for the real FAT like butter, avocado and real cream...
    • Oatmeal may have more uses than Duct tape
    • Soup/Stew are ALWAYS better the second day
    • Sometimes tomato soup and grilled cheese IS the answer to all your problems
    • Baking terrifies me.. so much measuring.....
    • Sage brown butter sauce will change your outlook on pasta sauces
    • And no... you cannot have my grandmothers meatball or lemon cookie recipes! :)

Breakfast
  • Oatmeal - traditionally or mixed with a plethora of ingredients this breakfast power house is the super breakfast of choice for me.  I love to add in Nut butters, bananas, fruit, yogurt, fruit butters, grapenuts... you name it... if its in your pantry it will probably taste great in your oatmeal! 
  • Egg Sandwiches - In the time it takes you to wait in line at Starbucks or DD you could have already toasted a muffin, pan fried an egg and added any tasty veggies to it. Add a cup of java or tea and you have a perfect pairing of breakfast goodness.
  • Smoothies - I am still experimenting with different recipes but all you need for a filling a.m. drink to go is Fruit/Vegetable + Milk (Cow or Alternative) + Ice + Imagination.  I may have to do a separate post on the many combinations I make (some of which are very green and totally freak out my fab roomie!)
  • Egg Bake - This is my go-to brunch recipe.  I tend to grab all the ingredients you would add into an omelette add to a pan or muffin pan (perfect for indivdual portions) and bake until fluffy.  My fav ingredients are onions, peppers, shredded cheese, bacon (or soy sausage if you want to healthify your recipe and trick your meat eating family).  This can be eaten alone or served on biscuits.
  • French Toast -  This recipe has been perfected by my dad TQ and I am sorry to say I can not share the exact recipe with you.  I can say though, that this breakfast classic is perfect hot out of the pan or reheated the next morning (for those groggy mornings where all you have is 5 minutes).  Top with a nut butter of your choice for added protein and you are good to go in the a.m.
Snacks:
  • Apples - Not only does this tasty treat keep the doctor away but it can be the perfect partner to make a complete snack.  My favorite combo is Apples & Peanut Butter (or lately Justin's Honey Almond Butter), other combos that are tasty are with Goat Cheese, Mixed in Oatmeal (stayed tuned for a quick Apple Oatmeal Cruble ready in 5 mins!), or w/ turkey or ham.  The possibilities are endless
  • Yogurt & Granola- So many yogurts out there, so many types of goodies to mix in.  I love to have a contrast of smooth and crunchy w/ my yogurt.  My personal favorite is a plain yogurt mixed w/ Grapenuts and frozen fruit like cherries.  Perfect snack to pack for work, the fruit defrosts on during your day and is ready to eat when you stomach starts to grumble.
  • Riccota & Agave Nectar - Similar to yogurt, this usually savory cheese is a sweet perfection when mixed with Agave Nectar, fruit and a bit of granola. The thicker grainer texture reminds me of greek yogurt but not as smooth.
  • Turkey Sandwich - Who says you can only have a sandwich at lunch?  I am known to eat Turkey sandwiches big and small at all times of the day.  One slice of bread, some turkey, cheese & veggies makes for the perfect well balanced snack (perfect pre-workout meal!)
  • Flavored Popcorn - Another of my favorite treats that I refuse to think inside the box about.  Popcorn with the following toppings can make it the perfect snack anytime of day!  My personal favorites are Old Bay (thanks MB for the tip!), Cinnamon & Sugar, Butter & red pepper flakes, and my personal favorite is Sage, Butter & Parmsean Cheese! It is an Italian masterpiece in tiny air popped morsels!
  • Cheese & Veggies - Throw these in a sandwich bag w/ a side of hummus, bean dip or just as is and you have a healthy, crunchy snack that will satisfy the biggest chip craving.
  • Deconstructed Pizza - I was that girl in college who always had a fridge full of food. The two items that were always in stock you ask?  String Cheese & Grape Tomatoes.  I love to wrap the cheese around the tomato and sometimes even add a basil leaf.  The fresh flavors pop in your mouth and you get the pizza flavors without having to order in take out at the office.  Of course there is no replacement for a hot ooey gooey slice of pizza but when you are stuck in a cube farm, this mess free snack is a good replacement.
Ok my friends, this is the begining of a list that I foresee becoming a living/growing entitiy on this site.  Feel free to add in your own comments or ask me questions about my insane cravings & concoctions!  I hope you enjoy it!