Anti-Microwave

Awesome food from a tiny kitchen in Brooklyn

dvonchcl asked: reheating leftover pizza without a microwave: put the pizza in a frying pan, lay aluminum foil over the top and squish it down just a bit so that it slightly conforms around the pizza, turn stove top on medium for 5 or 10 minutes and BANG you have crispy crust and melted cheese. sometimes this day old pizza is better than it was when it was fresh!

This is an excellent idea.

Pizza Muffins

Adapted from Noble Pig.

I’m the kind of lazy twentysomething who likes lunch food I can simply throw into a bag when I’m getting ready for work, and that’s exactly what this is.

Since I was looking for a substantial lunchy side dish, and not an adorable little hors-d’oeuvre, I doubled the recipe.  The ingredients are pretty basic: flour, baking powder, oregano, milk, eggs, cheese, and pepperoni.  The pasta sauce is really just a dip.

First you mix the powder ingredients; then you whisk in the egg and milk; and finally mix in the cheese and chopped pepperoni.  Is there anything easier than this recipe?  Probably not.  Maybe grilled cheese, I dunno.

Then you scoop it into a greased muffin tin, pop it in a 400F oven for 20 minutes, and the rest is history.  Are you kidding me?  Are we done?  Did I just make that?  What just happened?  I was sitting here and all of a sudden there was delicious food in front of me.  Cooking is magic.

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PIZZA MUFFINS
Yields 12

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups flour
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
2 tsp. oregano
1 1/2 cups milk
2 eggs
8 oz. shredded mozzarella
6 oz. pepperoni slices
pizza sauce for dipping

1. Preheat oven to 375F.  Grease 12-cup muffin tin.

2. Whisk flour, baking powder and oregano.  Add eggs and milk to form batter.  Mix in cheese and chopped pepperoni.

3. Fill muffin cups, then bake for about 20 minutes.

4. Serve with heated-up pizza sauce, if you want to get fancy.

Roast Potato Goddess Soup

Adapted from Straight from the Farm.

Do not be fooled by this humble photograph.  You are looking at a soup so delicious you’d be a tyrant not to cry.

I made a few small adjustments from the original recipe: dried rosemary and minced garlic instead of fresh, half-and-half instead of cream, a stock cube instead of vegetable broth, real bacon instead of soy bacon, and bacon fat instead of butter.  (Ignore the butter in the picture; I didn’t use it.)  With the exception of the bacon and bacon fat, all of these adjustments would supposedly make your recipe worse, but the effect on the taste is minimal to none.  It just makes things a little cheaper and easier.

Chop your potatoes.  I used a variety—Idaho, Yukon gold, and red—because why not, when you can buy them loose at the supermarket.  In a bowl, toss with olive oil, rosemary, garlic, salt and pepper, then spread on a foiled baking sheet and bake in a 400 degree oven for 40 minutes.

While that’s going on, chop your leeks and onions.  My favorite part of chopping leeks is pushing my finger through the resulting disks, and popping the layers of circles out.  I’m five.

AND THEN YOU FRY THE BACON.  At this point nobody will get on your case if you eat a couple strips or five or six.  Then chop whatever bacon you manage to have left.

In the same pan, with the leftover bacon fat, fry the leeks and onions ‘til soft.

Now you’ve got your roasted potatoes, your fried green stuff, and your chopped bacon.  Put everything in a stock pot with about 7 cups of water and a stock cube, and simmer for a little while.  Then, since I don’t have an immersion blender, I blended about half the soup in an actual blender, and used a potato masher on the rest to get it the right consistency.  Works fine.

Last but not least, add the half-and-half.  Then devour.

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ROAST POTATO GODDESS SOUP
Makes 6-8 servings

Ingredients:

4 assorted potatoes
4 leeks
1 small onion
1 pound of bacon, minus a few strips you can eat immediately
2 Tbsp. minced garlic
2 tsp. dried rosemary
2 Tbsp. olive oil
stock cube
1 cup half-and-half
salt and pepper to taste

1. Preheat oven to 400F.

2. Chop unpeeled potatoes in small cubes.  Toss with oil, rosemary, garlic, and some salt and pepper, then spread on baking sheet lined with foil.  Roast for 40 minutes.

3. While potatoes are roasting, chop leeks and onion.  Discard dark green tough leaves from the leek.

4. Fry bacon, then chop into small pieces.

5. In the same pan, fry leeks and onions in remaining bacon fat.

6. When potatoes are done, combine them, bacon, leeks and onions in a stock pot.  Cover with 7 cups water and a stock cube.  Simmer about 10 minutes.

7. If you don’t have an immersion blender, use potato masher to soften the soup, and/or blend about half the mixture in a conventional blender.

8. Slowly mix in half-and-half.  Serve immediately.

Shopping Cheap & Fresh #4

Total: $22.20

ANNOUNCEMENT: This is the first time I’ve ever bought bacon.  Please don’t scream.  I’ve eaten bacon before, yes, but some Kosher habits die hard and it had just never crossed my mind that I can buy and eat bacon whenever I want.  Coincidentally, I needed it for a recipe, but I’m not gonna lie, I sneaked five or six strips while frying it up.

This is an off-week, when I mostly buy staples (fruit, milk) so the only actual recipe coming out of this is Leek and Potato Soup.  Which…is…amazing.

Adorable Granola Bundles

So cute.  So tasty.  So filling.  So healthy.  So convenient.  So easy to make.  Does this mean granola bundles are the perfect snack?  Yes.  It does.

The most generic brand corn flakes ever, quick oats, peanut butter of your own preference, honey, almonds, and brown sugar.  BONUS: my sister and her fiancé brought me some homemade granola, so I threw a cup of that in just to make it extra-special.

Can I just pause and say that almonds are absurdly expensive, so if you think you might like them, just buy them in bulk.  That one little can cost more than like, all the rest of the ingredients combined.

Three cups of oatmeal and three cups of cornflakes.  (And the bonus sibling granola.)  I chopped the almonds before tossing them in.

Now combine the sticky ingredients.  That is half a cup of peanut butter, and it’s on its way into…

THE HEAVENLY PIT OF DELICIOUSNESS.  That is, equal parts peanut butter, honey, and brown sugar.

Then you just combine everything thoroughly, with some elbow grease.  At this point, SOME people like to bake it and cut it into squares, and SOME like to form it into balls, but I like to package them into neat little tinfoil bundles.  The advantage of foil bundles is you can toss them into your lunch willy-nilly, and you don’t have to get your hands dirty forming them.  Ahen you unwrap one in the office, you get a manageable clump of granola that doesn’t scatter all over your desk.

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GRANOLA BUNDLES
Makes 20-30 golf-ball-size bundles

Ingredients:

3 cups quick oats
3 cups plain cornflakes
1 cup chopped almonds
1/2 cup peanut butter
1/2 cup honey
1/2 cup brown sugar

1. Combine dry ingredients.  In a separate bowl, combine peanut butter, honey, and brown sugar.

2. Fold dry and wet ingredients together with a large spoon until mixture forms small even clumps.

3. Spoon about 2 tablespoons into a square of aluminum foil and bundle up.

One Chicken = Double Delicious

So you have a chicken.  Chicken soup?  Check.  Chicken salad?  Check.  Get ready for awesome.

I’ve been feeling under the weather lately, which is a perfect excuse for me to make my favorite thing ever.

You only need a few ingredients: The Chicken (mine’s about 3 pounds, but once I did a six-pound chicken, that was scary), couple carrots, few ribs of celery, ‘bout one onion, egg noodles, bay leaf, salt and pepper.  Done.

Remove and discard the bag of guts inside the chicken, rinse it in cold water, and stick it in your pot.  THEN WASH YOUR HANDS.

Cover it with your recently-chunked onions, carrots, and celery, plus one or two bay leaves (I used two ‘cause they were small).  Salt and pepper it well, fill the pot up with water, turn on the heat, and cover.

[Okay, so, I thought I was getting pictures of the next few steps, but actually I’d taken my SD card out of the camera and was oblivious to the large, black, super-obvious “NO MEMORY CARD IN CAMERA” messages.]

But anyway, you need to bring the water to a boil, then continue boiling lightly for two hours.  Two whole hours.  Go do something.

[2 hours later]

Remove the chicken with some large tongs or forks or whatever.  I used a couple of forks.  You should notice that the chicken literally disintegrates.  There is no exaggeration in the phrase “meat falling off the bone.”  Put your boiled chicken bits on a cutting board, and fork the meat into nice bite-size shreds, and stick ‘em in a bowl.

Now you have a bowl full of shredded chicken.  Put half of it back in the soup, and make the other half into…CHICKEN SALAD!

Yep, it’s as easy as MAYO, CELERY, PAPRIKA, DILL, SALT AND PEPPER.  (I know that’s more than three.  Sorry.)

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CHICKEN NOODLE SOUP
Serves 6-8

Ingredients:
3-or-4-pound chicken
2 carrots
5 ribs celery
small onion
bay leaf
2 cups egg noodles
salt and pepper to taste

1. De-gut and rinse chicken; put in pot.

2. Dice carrots, celery, and onion.  Add to pot, along with bay leaf and salt and pepper to taste.

3. Fill pot with water to about 2 in. from top.  Cover and bring to a boil; lower heat and simmer for 2 hours.

4. Turn off heat and remove chicken from soup.  Shred meat and return to pot.  Remove bay leaves.

5. Add egg noodles and simmer another 5-10 minutes.  Serve with salt and pepper.

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CHICKEN SALAD
Serves 3-4

Ingredients:
half a boiled chicken, shredded
4 ribs celery
1 1/2 Tbsp. mayonnaise
2 tsp. dill
1 tsp. paprika
salt and pepper to taste

Chop celery, combine ingredients and serve.

Shopping Cheap & Fresh #3

Total: $46.26

My sister and her fiancé are visiting this weekend, and we’re having a picnic at the Brooklyn Botanic Gardens, so I picked up some extra things today for avocado sandwiches.  I’m glad I went shopping early, ‘cause the avocados are hard as rocks and will need a couple days to ripen on the windowsill.

The brown sugar, almonds, and honey are for homemade granola balls.  Yes, BALLS.  If you’re tiresome and ordinary, you can make granola BARS in a pan, but.

And the grand ingredient of the week is a whole chicken, which is simmering on the stove as I write this, getting ready to become a tremendous amount of chicken noodle soup and gourmet chicken salad.  Recipes will follow, don’t worry.

How to Reheat Without a Microwave (or Toaster)

The name of this blog is Anti-Microwave because I don’t have one, and will never buy one.  Not out of health concerns—I don’t know much about the actual waves, or what they do to your body, probably nothing my cell phone doesn’t already do to my brain.

But I know that if we got along without electric kitchen appliances from the beginning of time ‘til 50 years ago…well, save your cash.

BUT HOW CAN YOU REHEAT THINGS WITHOUT A MICROWAVE?

1. If it’s frozen and covered in dough…steam for 10 mins.

Pork buns, pierogies, the almighty dumpling: all of these taste better steamed, anyway.  If you don’t have a steamer, pick up a collapsible steamer basket for $5.  It’s so easy you’ll cry.

2. If it’s a plate of leftovers…bake at 350F for 15-20 mins.

Pile yourself a nice tasty plateful of fridge leftovers, double-check the plate is dishwasher/microwave safe, cover in tinfoil and stick it in the oven.  You may need to adjust for some foods, but just start checking early.

3. If you want to make toast…bake at 350F for 3-7 mins, flipping once.

Toasters?  Pshhh, just stick that bread on your oven rack.  Okay, yes, this takes some vigilance.  And your oven might be different, so the first few times, make sure to check every couple minutes.

Have questions about other types of food, or reheating suggestions? Hit “Ask” at the top of the page and I’ll make a post about it.

Shopping Cheap & Fresh #2

Total: $16.93

It’s Staples Sunday.  Not the chain office supply store—food staples.  Every week, I alternate a large and small grocery run; this is an example of the small one, which is usually around $20.  I went under budget today!

Disclaimer: The ice cream bars aren’t exactly a staple.  It’s getting warm, though, so better to invest in a box than catch myself sauntering across the street to the bodega every afternoon.

No recipe tonight, because I just scrubbed the kitchen floor by hand.  (It’s a very small kitchen.  But I still busted two knuckles.  But it doesn’t matter because a clean kitchen floor is essential.  Go look at yours, right now.  Is it clean?  No?  Clean it.)

Time Management for Students

I get asked about my time management a lot.  Mostly because I cook, love cooking, and talk about cooking all the time.  In grad school, this means a lot of, “How the hell do you have time for that???” from my peers.

Well, I’ll tell you.

DISCLAIMER: I have an obsessive personality.  This makes time management a little easier for me than for some people, because I genuinely want to keep track of what I do every hour of every day.  As much advice as I may give, it may not work for some people.

1. Keep a weekly calendar.

Not a monthly calendar.  Month views are only useful if you do two things per day, ‘cause that’s all you’re gonna be able to see.

2. Schedule EVERYTHING.

Some people think calendars are just for things like meetings, ‘cause you can’t be late.  Wrong.  Laundry time, study time, cooking time, put it all on there.

2.5 …Even free time.

You may have 10 hours of errands to run on a crazy Saturday, but if you block two hours out to bask in the botanic garden, you’ll feel the effects.

3. Schedule important tasks for the morning, frivolous tasks for the evening.

a) You get the bad stuff over with. b) If you’re too pooped by 6 p.m. to do anything but lie in bed watching Are You Afraid of the Dark episodes on YouTube, at least whatever you canceled to satisfy your laziness wasn’t that important.

4. Multitask.

This works for two annoying tasks (study in the laundromat) or fitting fun stuff into your day (watch a movie while you cook, listen to Radiolab on the way to work).

5. Turn stuff down.

Do you take on assignments ‘cause they sound fun, only to realize that you’ll have to cut out eating and sleeping to make it happen?  Me too.  Don’t put yourself in that position—just say no.

6. Sleep.

You can’t do stuff well if you’re tired.  Make yourself a bedtime, then stick to it.

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Well, this is how I don’t fall down dead in grad school.  It works pretty well for me.  If you’re in law school, though, I don’t know.  You may just have to suffer.