Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Academy of Sciences Lunch

academy of sciences lunch, originally uploaded by mysterybridgers.

After much anticipation, the California Academy of Sciences has reopened in Golden Gate Park. We waited a few weeks to go since it seemed like it would be a madhouse right after it opened. Well, it was still a madhouse on a Saturday, but we arrived early enough to enjoy the the academy before the huge crowds showed up. We worked up quite an appetite going through the amazing "rainforest" and new aquarium exhibits, so we stopped at the cafe for some lunchy snacks.

The cafe was filled with all kinds of yummy treats, but they were quite overpriced. I suppose you can't feel too bad when the profits are going to the academy, but be warned that this cafe is not cheap. The majority of the food was really healthy (I resisted the urge to get french fries). We tried to get a variety of things that would not be too filling. We ended up with veggie spring rolls, a veggie bun and a chicken bun, a strawberry tart, and a shared organic orange soda.

Everything was delicious. The spring rolls were filled with tofu, shiitake mushrooms, mint, carrots, and rice noodles and the accompanying peanut sauce was not to heavy. The buns were delicious and we suspect that they came from the Slanted Door since they tasted identical to buns we've had there before. The strawberry tart was an almond tart with sliced strawberries on top and it tasted as good as it looked.

So, if you are ever in San Francisco, definitely check out the Academy of Sciences because it is amazing. And if you are willing to spend around $20 for a light lunch for two, know that the food will at least be tasty for that price.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Ratatouille Open-Faced Sandwich

We have a couple of new cookbooks thanks to the library book sale and so far so good. This recipe comes from the Horn of the Moon Cookbook. The Horn of the Moon was a vegetarian restaurant in Vermont, but it looks like it closed a few years ago. That is really too bad because the recipes in this book look really good.

The ratatouille open-faced sandwich is (in this case) a french bread roll topped with a lovely ratatouille mixture and jack and parmesan cheese. The ratatouille contains onions, garlic, basil, oregano, eggplant, zucchini, red bell pepper, tomatoes, olive oil, and salt and pepper. We have been getting really good oregano this year and it really made the ratatouille.

We had lots of the ratatouille mixture left over after making two really large sandwiches. We put some of it on an eggy crumpet for breakfast and it was super tasty. An eggy crumpet is just a crumpet soaked in an egg and then fried in a pan like french toast. It is very good in both savory and sweet applications for breakfast. I think that the rest of the leftover ratatouille mixture will end up in some pasta sauce tonight. This recipe is a pretty good one to stretch over many meals or will easily feed 4 people or more on the first go round.

Just a quick note: the posts on this blog might slow down a bit because I am once again entering the working world after a bit of a hiatus. We will do our best to keep up though and you might end up seeing some more restaurant food in the mix.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Lonely Cupcakes

lonely cupcakes, originally uploaded by mysterybridgers.

I am not often a fan of chocolate, but I've had the apartment to myself for a week and for some reason all I wanted last night was a giant chocolate brownie. Since I didn't want to drive around looking for a brownie, I looked at what I had at home and found out that I had everything to make the basic chocolate cupcakes from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World. I did cheat, however, and used left over buttermilk in the fridge instead of soy milk and vinegar as called for in the recipe so these cupcakes are not vegan. I also made a half recipe because I can't image eating a dozen cupcakes all by myself. I also didn't make any frosting because that would just be too decadent.

The cupcakes came out very well and when I crave chocolate in the future this will be a good recipe to turn to. The light in the kitchen was really weird because the kitchen light was reflecting off of the cookbook stand, but the picture is fairly representative of what the cupcakes actually looked like.

That reminds me to talk about cookbook stands. Before we got a cookbook stand, we struggled with getting our cookbooks to stay open when we cooked and the cookbooks always got really messy. We finally invested in a cookbook stand and it is one of the best purchases we have made for our kitchen. We use it just about every time we cook so it was a pretty good investment. If you use cookbooks when you cook a cookbook stand is a must have. The one we use is made by "clear solutions" and is cheapest at the container store if you are interested. It works great.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Tahini Broccoli Pasta Bake

This recipe from the Vegetarian Meat and Potatoes Cookbook is such a great comfort food recipe. We keep coming back to this recipe again and again. The broccoli is covered up by cheese and breadcrumbs in the picture, but there is quite a bit of it in there. The sauce is really delicious, but unusual too. Soft tofu, tahini, onions, and spices make up the creamy sauce that is blended in a food processor. The sauce is mixed with a bunch of broccoli and partly cooked pasta and then topped with breadcrumbs and cheese and baked until all the flavors meld and the cheese melts. We used a cheddar cheese on top that was not very melty, but really good none-the-less.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Crisp Tortillas with Pattypan Squash, Eggplant, and Tomato

eggplant squash tortilla, originally uploaded by mysterybridgers.

This dish from A Year in a Vegetarian Kitchen is the best thing that I have tasted in a long time. It is so simple, yet full of flavor. Everything really came together in order to make this recipe. Our local co-op had beautiful pattypan squash and lovely small firm white eggplants. In addition to these tasty veggies, the recipe contains lots of olive oil, garlic, chipotle chili in adobo sauce, tomato, cilantro, lime juice and the recipe calls for queso fresco, but we used feta.

Again this is a one pot meal (although we browned the tortillas in a different skillet) which was ready in less than an hour. Our white eggplants turned purple when cooked which I found to be quite interesting. We had lots of the veggie mixture left over so we had this again for lunch the next day. We heated the veggies in the microwave and browned the tortillas in the pan. It was just as good the next day.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Lentils and Wild Greens

Italian Lentils, originally uploaded by mysterybridgers.

The greens that we used in this dish are sadly not wild, but no less tasty. This is another fabulous recipe from Verdura, Vegetables Italian Style. It contains mustard greens, lots of olive oil, onion, garlic, celery, carrots, fresh oregano, fresh rosemary, Italian parsley, basil, brown lentils, tomatoes, lemon juice, and salt and pepper to taste.

I usually think that lentils are just okay, but this dish came out really great. The bitter greens and lemon juice really make the dish, but it is surely a joint effort with all of the other tasty ingredients. This recipe is a throw everything into one pot recipe, which is nice and is ready in less than an hour. I know I sound like a broken record at this point, but every recipe we have tried out of this book has been a real winner.