Saturday, January 30, 2010

Mocha Blend

Here in Troy, there is a little cafe called Mocha Blend. Sometimes, upon waking, Bean and I can hear it calling to us faintly, from where it waits squeezed in between the Pricechopper and Insurance Agency. An unlikely place for a quaint little warm-colored breakfast, but it is always a delicious one. Although their breakfast selections are limited (they are far better equipped for lunch), the egg-and-cheese on a croissant is the tastiest thing on this earth. It is perfectly cooked every time, flaky and crisp and tender all at once and in all the right places.

Also, their coffees are gigantic, which will make me love any place. Even the crumbs look good...

Friday, January 29, 2010

Oh Man(icotti)

Bean and I made manicotti last night. Because, of course, who doesn't like cheese? And more cheese! We bought block Parmesan and Romano cheese, and they were the most scrumptious taste-tests I have ever done.

This was an interesting experiment, as it was our first attempt at such a dinner endeavor.

The instructions, vaguely, were this:

1. Cook manicotti tubes like normal.
2. Simultaneously steam spinach.
3. In bowl, mix:

1 container of Ricotta cheese
Parmesan and Romano cheese, grated
Pinch of salt
2 eggs

4. Chop up spinach and mix into cheese batch.
5. Fill a plastic bag with the mixture, seal it, and cut off one corner.
6. Squeeze into one side of a cooked pasta tube until half full; squeeze in from other side.

This is one hell of a messy procedure, but once I got the technique down, it was easy. Plenty of opportunities to lick your fingers clean of ricotta during preparation. I ingested nearly a meal's worth, in fact, before the damn dish was even baked!

The filled noodles were laid out on a tinfoil-covered pan, for easy cleaning purposes. Then they were covered with a thin (we're not huge tomato sauce fans) of Newman's Own marinara sauce, and sprinkled with way too much (never!) Parmesan and Romano.

Bake for approximately one-half hour! And they were delicious.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Leftover Stir Fry

I have been told that stir fry is usually the first thing people learn to cook, but I grew up in a household of all-American meals, so this was a new and exciting time for me. I used only broccoli, and the sauce, which was supposed to be a sweet-and-sour combination, consisted of:

3 tbsp vegetable broth
1 tbsp soy sauce
2 tsp balsamic vinegar
2 tsp brown sugar
dash of chili powder

Under the unsure direction of my beloved roommate, I heated some grapeseed oil in the wok for a couple of minutes on medium heat, and then added half of the broccoli and poured in the mixed up sauce. After a minute, I added the rest of the broccoli and stood there for a few minutes, whereupon I declared it done. For me, raw vegetables are as delicious as cooked ones (and often more so!), so whether they were cooked or not was unimportant. To the mixture I added a tsp of cornstarch dissolved in cold water to thicken it up, and dumped it on a plate.

It was delicious! But there were leftovers, so today I used them in my lunch. This is simply a whole wheat wrap with the stir fry remains, basil-tomato feta cheese, and a few walnuts on top. I wrapped it up and brought it to class with me, expecting it to be a strange combination, but I was pleased to find that the flavors went well together like SO!