Monday, July 30, 2012

Growing Dinner

Store bought basil with cherry tomatoes, jalapeños, and bell peppers.

We posted a while ago about how we were attempting to grow herbs, tomatoes and peppers on Rich's balcony. Well, we started to fail at gardening. Turns out we were using the wrong kind of soil, which in potted balcony gardening is pretty crucial. We remedied that, buying nice Miracle Grow soil, and repotting.

They were much more red in real life. My cell phone camera sucks.

And BOOM! Growth. Except we gave up on the herbs... maybe in the fall we'll plant winter herbs.


The tomato plant has been the most successful with the jalapeño pepper plant not far behind it (poor bell pepper plant had a rough childhood and hasn't flourished quite as well in its new environment). So we decided a harvest was in order!

They were still warm from the afternoon sun.

Over the weekend we made orzo with sun dried tomatoes and garnished the dish with the cherry tomatoes we grew! Hooray! If you have any possibility of growing your own tomatoes I cannot recommend it enough. Home grown tomatoes taste a million times better than any organic tomato you'll find in any grocery store. If you can't grow your own (I live in an apartment and I'm growing some, so really anyone can) try to buy some at a farmer's market. Good tomatoes are so worth it. I swear you can taste the sun.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

The Breezeway Burger

 It didn't survive long after this photo was taken...

So you may notice that this is meat. Anyone who knows Lindsay knows that Lindsay doesn't eat meat. That means today's post is brought to you by Mr. WSBF. So sit back, put on your burger bib and get ready to get a bit messy.

First ,you may ask yourself, "What the heck is a breezeway?" To answer that question I'd have to go all the way back to when I was 15. I was a sophomore in high school at St Joseph Notre Dame in beautiful (?) Alameda California. The Breezeway was a pretty straightforward place, it was a hallway/alley that led to the school's back entrance. There wasn't much to it, but with the right people there it became one of my favorite places.

This burger is so named for those same qualities. There really isn't a lot to it, but with the right mixture of ingredients and proper cooking it becomes a melt in your mouth exercise in deliciousness.

Mmm Fixins
Ground beef (Though any ground meat should go well with the other flavors.)
Worcestershire sauce (Wurst-ter-sure)
Spicy mustard w/ horseradish 
Salt / Pepper
Goat Cheese Crumbles

There's a lot more cheese in there than this shows.

Step 1: Take that handful of beef and put your goat cheese crumbles in it. I used a fair amount but you don't want to overdo it. The cheese isn't great at helping the burger hold its shape while cooking. That being said, don't skimp either or the other flavors will overpower it completely. It's a delicate balance so go with your gut on this one.

Step 2: Once you've got a healthy amount of cheese in there it's time to make your burger shape. I use my hands for this but I know some people that use rolling pins. I think to get that perfect burger shape you've really got to feel it on your palms. Check for weird pockets where there's too much cheese or the meat isn't holding together. Ball it back up and re-squish it if you must.

Step 3: Time to sauce it! You want a good dose of Worcestershire on there. Once you've seasoned it with a bit of salt and pepper stick it in the fridge for about 15-20 minutes. This gives the sauce time to really soak into the burger.

Step 4: Grab yourself a non stick pan (or grease a sticky one) and start cooking! Set your burner to medium (5 or 6 on a 1 to 10 dial) and let the pan heat up for a couple of minutes. When cooking any kind of meat a consistent temperature is important so you don't over/under cook it. You don't want the temperature changing much while it's cooking. I like to let it cook for 7-8 minutes. Cook on one side for a minute, then flip. Repeat the process until your burger is a deep brown and it's starting to leak juices from the top side. In the last 2 minutes or so I like to quick chop my toppings and toast the bun.

Ta da!

Step 5: Assemble and enjoy!

Total Cost ~ $8
Cook time with prep ~ 18 minutes.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Cookies and Ice Cream


OK, so we didn't make this, per se, but we did assemble it and devour it so it counts, right? Trader Joe's makes the best packaged cookie dough I've ever had. Each package (around $3.50) comes with 16 pre-rounded chocolate chip cookie dough balls that you bake for a few minutes. They're warm and gooey and perfect. We decided to pair them one day with some chocolate chip ice cream. The combination does not disappoint. Try this. Feed your inner fat kid.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Gnocchi with mozzarella, basil and tomatoes

It's like pasta but with potatoes.

This is one of the easiest, fastest and cheapest meals and it's hearty and satisfying. Gnocchi are little potato balls that work like pasta and are as versatile as pasta. You could literally put anything on them and it'll be great. I like to keep it somewhat simple because the gnocchi tastes really good by itself.

Grape tomatoes
Olive oil, balsamic vinegar

Step 1: Boil the gnocchi. Takes about as long as pasta, like 10 minutes or so. When the gnocchi rises to the surface, boil for two more minutes.

 They have risen!

Take the two minutes to shred the cheese and prepare the basil. Drain the gnocchi and put everything together with a small bit of olive oil and an even smaller bit of balsamic vinegar. Fee free to sprinkle with salt and pepper if you want, but we didn't.

Enjoy! A very italian dinner with all the right colors. This can even be gluten free if you find gnocchi that isn't packaged with wheat flour (to keep the potato balls from sticking together). You can also make a mini caprese salad appetizer with the same ingredients.

Total cost: ~$7 (feeds 2-4)
Total cook time: 10 minutes