12 January 2007

Florentine Cannellini One Pot (off a can of Bush's Beans)

This is one of the recipes Kea and I have in rotation, truly off a can of Bush's Beans. It's quick, easy, yummy, and full of fiber.

4 slices bacon, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 medium onion, chopped
1 (14 oz) can chopped spinach, drained*
3 (14.5 oz) cans chicken broth
1 (15-16 oz) can of EACH drained and rinsed: cannelini beans,** dark red kidney beans, light red kidney beans
1/2 c. sun-dried tomatoes, cut in thin strips
1 t dried basil
Garnish: shredded parmesan

Brown bacon over high heat in large stockpot, about 8 minutes.*** Add garlic and onion, saute 6 minutes. Add spinach, saute 2 minutes. Add beans and all remaining ingredients. Simmer 10 minutes.

*I use frozen spinach because canned spinach seems gross to me.
**I use something called Northern beans because cannelini's cost more and they look the same.
***My onion pieces were about twice the size of my bacon pieces so the bacon got burnt. So you probably either want to throw the garlic and onion in earlier or make sure the bacon is not chopped too small and the onion is not chopped too big.

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09 January 2007

My Favorite Teas

Winter has finally hit Michigan--for a couple days at least--and I forgot how cold proper winter weather is! Not sure if it's typical to forget every year or just because this is only my third "real" winter. In any case, even in the house, with the heat on, I had to make myself a cup of tea. Barnes and Noble also just introduced a new tea that I LOVE so I thought I'd make a list of my favorite teas.

Harney and Sons Chocolate Mint: This is the new one at BN. The mint is especially good for my tummy when we head to the bookstore after eating a big meal. The chocolate flavor is not really strong; just enough to tone down the mint and make it feel more indulgent. I may also like this tea because it reminds me of the chocolate mint tea I've had at places like Waioli Tea Room and Alice's Tea Cup.

Harney and Sons Bangkok: This is a green tea with lemongrass and coconut flavors, one of the most unusual teas I've ever had. I tend to like the savory more than the sweet and this one hints at savory flavors--it smells like curry! Also, it's fun to say "Bangkok." I bought it for some friends for Christmas but I think it's not for everyone.

Harney and Sons Pomegranate Oolong: Another one I've had at BN. Very refreshing. I think it's seasonal though because they stopped carrying it sometime in the fall. (It makes no sense to me to have a seasonal hot tea but whatev.) I bought this one for friends I thought might not like the Bangkok.

Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf Genmaicha: Another tea that satisfies my savory tooth. With bits of popcorn, genmaicha is one of my favorites. The brand from Costco (I suspect only in some markets) and Espresso Royale are okay, but Coffee Bean's is the best. I think if I could only have one tea for the rest of my life, this would be it. It's even good iced, which I would never have expected from genmaicha. I also like the Strawberry Cream from Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf, and that the employees tell you how long to steep your tea.

Harney and Sons Vanilla Comoro
: Occasionally useless because it's decaf, but still yummy and another good one for calming the tummy.

Tazo China Green Tips: Just a plain old green tea, which I am sometimes in the mood for. I also drink it, however, because there's nothing better at Seattle's Best. (This one doesn't really count as a favorite; it's just my favorite at Starbucks and Seattle's Best. Also, the Tazo site is weird so they don't get a link.)

Harney and Sons PanAsia: Another green tea, but better than the Tazo. Somehow this one satisfies my savory tooth also.

At home I drink the cheap stuff: Celestial Seasonings English Toffee Dessert Tea (tastes like it's got to have milk, sugar or something bad for you in it, but it's still 0 calories), Cinnamon Apple Spice Herb Tea, and Country Peach Passion Herb Tea. None of these are spectacular, but they do the job (of keeping me warm).


08 January 2007

Savory Pancakes

Kea and I got this idea from Rachael Ray's $40 a Day, when she went to Europe (either Amsterdam or Belgium--can't remember which episode it was). Rachael was introduced to savory pancakes for lunch.

She told the chef, "You know, in America we usually only think of pancakes as breakfast food."

And he looked at her like, "You Americans--you're stupid."

I tried finding recipes for savory pancakes and found these: Cheddar Chive Pancakes (you may have to scroll down), Corn Pancakes, and Ham Pancakes. We decided to go the easy route, however, and just mix in some savory ingredients in our typical Bisquick pancake mix.

We put in a cup or two of shredded monterey jack, some bacon (cooked and chopped, not too much, just enough for some meatiness), a handful of fresh spinach, and a couple handfuls of frozen broccoli (just cuz we didn't have much spinach). The batter was pretty thick by the time we put this all in, which made for thick pancakes. We first tried making big ones--the size of our non-stick pan, but I lack the skill to flip those so we went back to ones just about three inches in diameter.

I think the version on $40 a Day was thinner--more like crepes, with the filling done more omelette style, but I knew there was no way we could pull that off. Ours tasted good though--a little reminiscent of biscuits or quiche.

We'd like to experiment with this more in the future--especially adding some spiciness.

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01 January 2007

New Year's

A friend from my program had a New Year's party. It was sort of a random mix of people around for the holidays. One of our guests, however, from a different program, noted that, for grad students, our parties have good food! This is the second time I've heard that so I'm starting to believe it!

I made Spinach Rolls and Spam Musubi. Spinach Rolls are so easy and always a hit. I feel like they're boring, but people always like them. Spam Musubi is more hit and miss but I knew there were a few of us who would really appreciate them anyway.

There was a lot of great food but one of my favorites was a Dutch New Year's donut. The guy who made it said it is only eaten for New Year's. It was so good that I had to look it up: it's apparently called Oliebollen. They reminded us of andagi and malasadas, which made us Hawai'i folk very happy! They seemed less greasy though and tasted great even after sitting for about an hour. The fruit inside was also different and really good!

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