theboxexperiment

Attempting to live a more sustainable lifestyle.

Asian Noodle Salad with Peanut Sauce and Lime February 28, 2011

Filed under: Dinner,Poutlry,Snack,Vegetable — theboxexperiment @ 7:50 pm
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This recipe was adopted from an awesome cookbook, Everyday Greens by Annie Somerville. My dad bought this for us around the time we moved into the house. It is a wonderful collection of vegetarian recipes that Greens Restaurant in San Francisco serves. Often when I go home to NY, my dad has made another fabulous salad and they generally come from this book. Now when he comes visits us, I’ll have fabulous dishes waiting for him!

Tonight was our first foray into cooking tofu. I leapt in headfirst, spearheading the tofu movement in the house, JEM followed more reluctantly. I think it was definitely a success for me. JEM wasn’t totally opposed to it, but would prefer chicken. If you are definitely not a tofu fan, it can easily be switched out with bite sized pieces of chicken breast.

This is also an easy make ahead type meal. The sauce can be made ahead of time (omit the ginger till right before serving) and the pasta can be made a day ahead of time (toss a bit of oil or some reserve cooking water in to keep the noodles from sticking together).  The rest comes together fairly quickly.

Main Dish

Ingredients

  • Peanut Sauce (recipe follows)
  • Spicy Peanuts (recipe follows), coarsely chopped, about 3/4 cup
  • Vegetable oil for frying
  • 1/2 pound firm tofu, cut in 1/2 in. thick slices (1 med-large chicken breast)
  • Salt and Pepper
  • 1 large carrot, peeled, thinly sliced on the diagonal and cut into match sticks, about 1 cup (or use chopped baby carrots as we did)
  • 1 pound dried linguine (or, as we used rice noodles. It would have also been awesome with rice)
  • Radish, peeled, thinly sliced on the diagonal and cut into match sticks, about 1 cup (ended up not using b/c JEM isn’t a radish fan…and ours wasn’t so hot anymore)
  • 3 or 4 scallions, both white and green parts, sliced on the diagonal, about 1/2 cup (ended up using white onion…scallion would have been better)
  • 2 small broccoli crowns, chopped into bite sized pieces
  • 1 cups of snap peas, chopped into small-ish pieces.
  • 1/2 oz fresh ginger, thinly sliced and cut into thin match sticks about 1/4 cup
  • 1/3 cup of coarsely chopped cilantro
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • Hot pepper flakes

Steps

  1. Make the Peanut-Ginger Sauce and the Spicy Peanuts
  2. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and salt lightly.
  3. Cook the pasta, rice, or noodles until tender.
  4. Drain in a colander, rinse under cold water, and shake off extra moisture.
  5. Pour a thin layer of oil (about 1/4 in deep) into a saute pan and heat until just below the point of smoking, when the first wisp of vapor appears.
  6. Fry the tofu until gold and crisp, ~3-4 minutes each side. (Pre-heat oven to 350* F, lightly oil the chicken, salt and pepper both sides, bake for 20 mins–keep an eye on it, it changes every time we do it.)
  7. Place the tofu on paper towels to drain and sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper.
  8. When cool enough to handle, cut into thin strips.
  9. Toss in a small bowl with 1/4 cup of the Peanut-Ginger Sauce and set aside.
  10. Steam the veggies until tender.
  11. Place pasta in a large bowl with the tofu, veggies, ginger, cilantro, and half of the spicy peanuts.
  12. Add the Peanut-Ginger Sauce, the lime juice, 1/2 tsp of salt, and a pinch of pepper flakes.
  13. Gently toss to coat the noodles.
  14. Add pepper flakes to taste.
  15. Sprinkle the remaining peanuts over the salad and garnish with sprigs of cilantro to be fancy.

Peanut-Ginger Saucethis will keep for a long time in the fridge (according to the authors). If you make it ahead of time, omit the ginger at the time and add it right before serving.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 c. smooth, NATURAL peanut butter
  • 1/2 c. light brown sugar, packed
  • 1/2 c. peanut oil
  • 1/3 c. rice vinegar (can use Apple Cider Vinegar with a bit of sugar as a substitute)
  • 1/4 c. of tamari or soy sauce
  • 1/4 c. of water
  • 1 tbls grated fresh ginger (I accidentally omitted this and it was still pretty awesome)
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • pinch of cayenne

Steps

  1. Puree everything in a blender until smooth

Spicy Peanuts–we actually omitted these because we don’t have raw peanuts on hand. They do however sound fantastic. Definitely sound great to have on hand and the authors say they keep well in an airtight container–so bake away!

Ingredients

  • 1 c. raw peanuts
  • 1/2 tsp peanut oil
  • 1/4 tsp paprika
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 tsp salt

Steps

  1. Preheat the over to 325* F
  2. Toss everything together in a small bowl
  3. Roast on a baking sheet for about 10 minutes, until the mixture smells nutty.
  4. Set aside to cool.
 

Mac and Cheese February 27, 2011

Filed under: Dinner — theboxexperiment @ 6:52 pm
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This post was some how deleted with the magic of the internet, so I’m re-posting a shorter version.

Mac cheese is a wonderful soul food that is easy to make to feed many people. This is also one of the best recipes I’ve seen. JEM’s mom passed the recipe on to me and I’ve passed it on to my family. Recipes like this one meant to share, enjoy!!

Ingredients

  • 2 tbs margarine
  • 1/2 cup unsifted flour
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp dry mustard
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 5 cups milk
  • 2 blocks (4 cups) of grated sharp cheddar cheese
  • 16 oz macaroni cooked 6 min, drained
  • 1/2 cup italian or Panco bread crumbs
  • Onion to taste

Steps

  1. In saucepan melt margarine over low heat.
  2. Stir in flour, salt, mustard, and pepper until smooth.
  3. Remove from heat.
  4. Gradually stir in milk until smooth.
  5. Stirring constantly, cook over medium heat about 12 minutes or until thickened.
  6. Remove from heat.
  7. Stir in the onion and the cheese until the cheese is melted.
  8. Turn macaroni into greased casserole.
  9. Pour cheese and onion mixture over macaroni; mix well.
  10. Sprinkle bread crumbs over top of the casserole.
  11. Bake 375 oven 25 minutes or until topping lightly browned. (We generally broil the mac cheese for the last few minutes to really make sure it gets browned.

 

Bean and Corn Salsa

Filed under: Snack,Vegetable — theboxexperiment @ 6:00 am
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JEM found this recipe and it’s definitely become a weekly staple in our house. It goes fantastic with tacos, burritos, quesadillas, etc. It is also great by itself. J has made it thinking it would last a few days only to discover I brought it to work for lunch with pita chips. Quick, easy, inexpensive, very filling, and oh so good.

Ingredients

  • 1 can of black beans
  • 1 can of no-salt sweet corn
  • chopped fresh cilantro to taste
  • 1/2 med. red onion (or to taste)
  • fresh lime juice (~1/2 of a squeezed lime)
  • salt
  • 1/2 chopped de-seeded jalapeno or serrano (optional)
  • 1 tbs cumin

Steps

  1. Drain the beans and corn
  2. Rinse both the beans and corn in a colander. Leave them to dry a bit.
  3. Rough chop the red onion (we cut it up fairly small.)
  4. Rinse the cilantro. Make sure to wash the cilantro very well. Unlike other herbs you may pick up from the store, this one often comes very sandy. So unless you like grit, clean it will!!
  5. Rough chop the cilantro.
  6. Rinse the hot pepper.
  7. Cut the hot pepper in half, de-seed, rough chop (again we do it pretty small or you’re like to get a VERY spicy bite.)
  8. Mix the beans, corn, cilantro, and hot pepper together. If then beans and corn are still pretty wet at this point then cumin will clump and be funky.
  9. Salt to taste.
  10. Squeeze lime juice over the mixture.
  11. Mix
  12. Enjoy!!!

 

Fire Roasted Tomato and Red Pepper Chili February 24, 2011

Filed under: Dinner,Meat,Vegetable — theboxexperiment @ 9:52 pm
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JEM and I  both got home early tonight but started right in on doing lots of back up work. We decided to whip up a yummy fire roasted  tomato and red pepper chili. It was a first but definitely has been added to list of family recipes.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 medium onion, diced
  • 1 red bell pepper, quartered and de-seeded
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • 10 Roma tomatoes, halved (Or 1 14-oz cans fire-roasted tomatoes)
  • 1 tablespoon garlic, minced
  • 2 spice y sausages, remove skin
  • 1 13.5-oz can dark red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 8oz can tomato paste

Seasoning

  • 1 tbsp chili powder
  • 1 tbsp ground cumin
  • 2 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp cayenne
  • 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp brown sugar

Garnish

  • Sour Cream
  • Cheddar Cheese
  • Cilantro

Steps

  1. Cut the Roma’s in half
  2. Quarter and de-seed the red pepper
  3. Place cut tomatoes and red peppers (on tin foil) on baking sheet.
  4. Drizzle EVOO on all veggies.
  5. Place under broiler until blackened.
  6. In a large chili pot, add tomatoes, beans, onion and pepper.
  7. Cook on medium-high heat for 5 mins (until the onion is translucent and the beans are tender).
  8. Add sausage (preferably de-cased), tomato paste, garlic and spices.
  9. Simmer until the meat is cooked (**This turns out very thick, so we added ~1 c. water to get the consistency to where we like it)
  10. Enjoy!!

 

Box #4

Filed under: Box — theboxexperiment @ 9:37 pm
It’s finally time for a new box! It’s the perfect week for a produce delivery too, we just returned from a weekend out and neither of us feels like going grocery shopping for the week. We have most staples in the house already: chicken, pasta, rice, tomato sauce, etc. We will need to pick up milk and bread, but that’s about it.
  • Broccoli GA
  • Sweet Potatoes NC
  • Red Leaf Lettuce CA
  • Roma Tomatoes FL (2x)
  • Celery CA
  • Sweet Onions TX (2x)
  • Green Beans FL
  • Bosc Pear WA
  • Ruby Red Grapefruit FL
  • Bananas SA
  • Items We Swapped Out: Naval Oranges and Fuji Apples

This weeks menu is going to be winged. We’ll definitely do sweet potato fries again, maybe I’ll look into twice baked sweet potatoes. We’ll do soy ginger green beans probably with a simple rice and chicken entrée. Definitely do some salads. JEM won’t be home for dinner on Wednesday, and we’ll both be out at the Caps v Rangers game on Friday– so there will be no discovery recipes until next weekend, maybe some oldies but goodies though!

 

Fire Roasted Tomato and Red Pepper Chili February 19, 2011

Filed under: Dinner — theboxexperiment @ 1:42 pm
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Sometimes you want some food that comforts the soul and sometimes you need to feed a lot of people. Sometimes you need to do both that’s when you should turn to homemade macaroni and cheese. JEM and I spent the weekend in Hanover, NH with JEM’s parents, Skidmore friends, and my sister, MAW. The first night everyone arrived was a bit hectic: we had to go grocery shopping, help clean and prep the house for guests, and somehow coordinate dinner for up to 10 people without knowing when everyone’s timing. So we went with mac cheese: yummy, filling, and easy to reheat for the stragglers. JEM’s mom passed the recipe on to us and I’ve given it over to my family. It is the best mac cheese recipe I’ve ever found.

Ingredients

  • 2 tbs margarine
  • 1/2 cup unsifted flour
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp dry mustard
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 5 cups milk
  • 2 blocks (4 cups)
  • 16 oz macaroni cooked 6 min, drained
  • 1/2 cup fresh bread crumbs
  • Add onion to taste
  • Steps

    1. In saucepan melt margarine over low heat.
    2. Stir in flour, salt, mustard, and pepper until smooth.
    3. Remove from heat.
    4. Gradually stir in milk until smooth.
    5. Stirring constantly, cook over medium heat about 12 minutes or until thickened.
    6. Remove from heat.
    7. Stir in 3 1/2 cups of the cheese until melted.
    8. Turn macaroni into greased casserole dish (9″ x 13″).
    9. Pour cheese mixture over macaroni; mix well.
    10. Mix remaining cheese and bread crumbs; sprinkle over casserole. (If you like color, you can also sprinkle a little paprika over the top and it really doesn’t affect the taste.)
    11. Bake 375 oven 25 minutes or until topping is lightly browned. (We end up broiling ours for the last few minutes to give it a nice golden color.)
    12. Bon Appetit!
     

    Almond Kisses February 14, 2011

    Filed under: Dessert,Snack — theboxexperiment @ 6:00 am

    It’s Valentine’s Day and I wanted to bring something in for my darling junior and seniors who are studying the chapter most kids like the least: the dreaded logarithm. I’ve had almond slivers around the house waiting for something to happen to them, we’ll something finally happened to 1/4 of them. ALMOND KISSES!

    The following recipe has been from the Almond Kisses recipe by Wes Martin on FoodNetwork.com and a traditional Sugar Cookie Recipe from an awesome cookbook “The Cookie and Biscuit Bible” By Catherine Atkinson (recipes by Joanna Farrow and Valerie Barrett).

    These cookies turned out SO fluffy, they are very different from the traditional flat sugar cookie. They are super sweet, so for the future I may use less sugar than the 1 c. called for.

    Ingredients

    • 3 c. all-purpose flour
    • 1 tsp baking soda
    • 2 tsp baking powder
    • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
    • 1/2 c. softened-melted butter (or margarine)
    • short 1 c. fine sugar
    • 1/2 tsp almond extract (I used imitation and it was fine)
    • 1 egg
    • 1/2 c. milk
    • 1/2 c. finely chopped almonds
    • 1/2 c. powdered sugar
    • several tbls of red sugar for sprinkling (clearly any color could be used)

    Steps

    1. In a food processor chop the almonds and set aside.
    2. Sift the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and nutmeg together. Set aside.
    3. Cream together the butter/margarine, sugar, and almond extract until the mixture is light and fluffy.
    4. Add the egg and mix well.
    5. Add the flour mixture alternately with the milk and mix well.
    6. Add the chopped almonds and mix till completely incorporated.
    7. Wrap in wax paper and refrigerate for 30-45 mins.
    8. Pre-heat oven to 350*
    9. Using a tsp ball the dough and place on a baking sheet (I recommend using a silpat on the sheet, though we currently don’t own one.)
    10. Bake for 12-14 mins until the bottom turns golden brown.
    11. Mix the powdered sugar and the red sugar in a shallow bowl.
    12. While the cookies are still warm roll in sugar mixture until completely coated. Gently pressing the cookies into the mixture to adhere the sugar.
    13. Mangia.