Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Slaw no gettum firewood

So extra points to you, dear reader, if you can name what excessively racist Disney movie the title of this blog post comes from.
Ding ding ding! It's Peter Pan!

I watched this awhile ago with one of my good friends and we were totally taken aback at the obvious racism in that movie. From the "Indians" speaking in Pidgin English and calling Wendy "squaw" to the footprints that denote the name of the tribe, Peter Pan is all kinds of messed up. I actually don't think I can watch Peter Pan again because it was so bizarrely off-color.

Attempting to relive stuff from your childhood can sort of screw with you I think.

Anyway, the real reason for the title of this post is that I couldn't think of anything funny to say about this Asian salad slaw I made.

This is the next in the recent line of stupid easy recipes that require no cooking in deference to our East Coast pals slogging it out with Sandy.

Raise your hand if you'd like the entire cast of Jersey Shore to be swept out to sea never to be seen again.

In any case, this would be a lot easier with a food processor or a large plane grater but you can totally make do with a good chef's knife. That way you can also work on your knife skills like I did and remember just how badly it sucks to julienne foods.

FYI: julienne is when you cut a food into equal matchstick-shaped pieces.

This is one of those where you can definitely FFTFW by adding hot chili flakes, more lime juice, salt, grated ginger, radicchio, whatever you think will taste good given the flavor profile. The only thing I don't recommend changing is the type of vinegar (rice wine) because if you use malt vinegar or apple cider vinegar for example, it might taste weird.

This is an excellent accompaniment to a spicy main dish like curry or blackened fish tacos but you could also just grill steak or chicken and throw it on top of the slaw for an entire meal.

This will keep for two or three days in the fridge before it starts to go weird.

2 medium carrots, peeled
1 large cucumber, peeled
1/4 head green cabbage 
1/4 c. rice wine vinegar
Juice of 2 limes
1/4 tsp. crushed red chili flakes
1/4 tsp. kosher salt
2 tbs. crushed peanuts

1. Cut the vegetables into equal sized pieces (julienne) or use your food processor to grate BUT NOT BLEND them.

2. In a large bowl, combine all the vegetables and peanuts and mix them together well.
3. In a separate bowl, combine the vinegar, lime juice, chili flakes and salt and whisk to combine.

4. Pour the dressing over the salad and toss to coat. Serve immediately with more crushed peanuts for garnish, if desired.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Scandy Sandy

This one goes out to all those on the East Coast who don't have school today thanks to one Hurricane Sandy, including my school (University of Maryland).

This means that Sunday Funday definitely happened last night and everyone is about to lose power today and continue to drink regardless...at least at my school anyway. We have our priorities in order.

Therefore I bring to you a recipe that involves absolutely no cooking at all and that can be made with the general contents of your pantry. Fraternity brothers, this probably excludes you but let this be a lesson to you in grocery shopping.
Spanish peanut butter < American peanut butter

I introduce to you: Balls of Fury.

Okay actually I hate that name but No Bake Energy Bites sounds really healthy and boring and I couldn't think of a hurricane-related name for these things.

Regardless of your inclement weather, these are delicious and very easy to make and you can adjust their health/junk food factor as you wish. I personally advocate for deliciousness over health in the case of these little snacks but if the junk in your trunk begs to differ feel free to do otherwise.

You can also add delicious things like Craisins or chopped nuts to the mix if you're feeling really fancy and/or have recently been to Trader Joe's. If you add more dry ingredients however, make sure to increase the proportion of the wet ingredients so it all sticks together.

And that's really all I've got. It's a simple recipe. I made them for the bus ride to Valencia and they went quickly. Tommy was super into them but he's not exactly a picky eater so take that as you will.

Oh I guess this is of marginal interest: I tried Valencian paella with rabbit, chicken and "vegetables" and honestly I could live a long time without ever eating it again. Not like it was bad but there was more bone than anything else and the rice and vegetables were really overcooked. I'm certainly glad I tried it though, can't go to Spain and not have paella at least once. Our program director and Tommy's Spanish roommate both said that Alicantian paella is far superior and recommended a restaurant for us to try so we might go round two in the near future.

But without further ado...No Bake Balls of Energetic Fury (?)


1 c. rolled oats
1/2 c. smooth peanut butter
1/4 c. wheat germ
1/4 c. shredded coconut
1 tbs. honey
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 c. dark chocolate chips
1/4 c. raisins/Craisins/chopped nuts

1. Put all dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Scoop liquid ingredients on top of dry. Mix together well, incorporating all ingredients and leaving no dry patches at the bottom of the bowl.

2. Chill for 30 minutes and then shape into 1-inch diameter balls. Store in a tightly sealed Tupperware for up to 3 days (they dry out otherwise) but I doubt they'll last that long.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

I did it for the cookie

In the Georgetown area of DC, there's a fantastic bakery called Baked and Wired which has unbelievable coffee, cupcakes and other delicious pastries. It's far and away the best cupcakery in DC but doesn't come close to touching the cupcakery I work at in Illinois (Turtle's Cupcakes). They're kind of hipster and crunchy-granola guys there but they make some mean snacks and they usually have a funny sign out front. Once, it said "I did it for the nookie" but nookie was crossed out and replaced with cookie which I personally prefer.

Very few things top a well-made cookie, and most collegiate sexual escapades...you can sit. Hence: I did it for the cookie.

I'm going to be in Valencia, Spain this weekend (apparently home of the best paella in Spain) so I will be silent until Sunday but before I go let me leave you with two things.

The first is a bomb recipe for oatmeal cookies with toasted coconut and chocolate chips.

The second is a warning to never attempt to cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy by hand. Because it's really hard and it sucks. Also don't try to use an immersion blender because it might start smoking like ours did.

This is essentially my favorite oatmeal chocolate chip cookie recipe from Better Homes and Gardens plus a little coconut toasted in a saucepan.

That being said, these are ridiculously easy and I know you'll want to drunkenly snack on them this weekend because since Halloween falls on a Wednesday this year that means all you lucky American college students get TWO Halloweekends. Your livers are cowering in terror.

2 1/4 c. rolled oats
1 1/2 (or 2) c. semi sweet chocolate chips
1 2/3 c. flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1 c. packed brown sugar
3/4 c. white sugar
1 c. (2 sticks) butter
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 c. unsweetend coconut flakes
1/2 c. chopped walnuts (optional)

1. Preheat oven to 375 F. In a small bowl, mix together the oats, chocolate chips, flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt.
2. In a separate bowl, cream the butter and sugars until light and fluffy and then blend the dry ingredients until just incorporated. Beat in the eggs and vanilla.
3. Gently toast the coconut in a small saucepan over low to medium heat, stirring often with a spatula, until golden brown and fragrant. Fold into the batter along with the nuts if you're using them.
4. Drop by the tablespoon onto a greased baking sheet and bake for about 9-12 minutes or until golden brown around the edges. You want them slightly chewy.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Spike this

In honor of the Bears now being 5 and 1 and Skip Bayless tweeting that barring injury our Superbowl chances just keep getting better and better, I write today about spiked and spicy cider.

Also because in the poll I posted, 7 out of 8 people voted to see an alcoholic beverage make its way onto Bite Me. My readers are all seemingly booze-soaked college students, and I'm okay with that.

This cider reminds me of two things, the first of which is the deliciously nonalcoholic cider my mom makes in the fall and the horrifically alcoholic cider a fraternity at my school makes for an enormous tailgate they have every year.

Mine is a happy marriage of the two with the holy water that is bourbon. It's also stupid easy to make (just one step!) but looks and smells very impressive so I highly recommend it for large parties. It will almost certainly make an appearance at my highly exclusive and invitation only gingerbread house party that I host every winter break. Be jealous.

Anyway, I made this for a friend's birthday party last weekend and it went over a storm but BE WARNED: this shit is Special Olympics in a festive mug. You think it's not that strong because you get distracted by the cinnamony goodness and orange slices floating in your face and then 45 minutes later you're having an in-depth conversation with someone about why you named your first cat after a German composer and why the  Evil Queen in Snow White was so evil.

Without further ado...spiked and spicy cider.

1 bottle of apple juice (preferably without added sugars and not from concentrate)
1/2 orange, sliced
2 cinnamon sticks
4 or 5 whole cloves
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1 c. bourbon (I like Knob Creek but it's up to you. Feel free to add more or less to taste.)

1. Combine all ingredients in a large pot on the stove top and stir to combine. Let simmer over low heat for about 20 or 30 minutes until fragrant and serve.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Scone cold crazy

Deceptively good looking.
So, if you follow @BiteMeBlog (which you absolutely should if you don't already because it's really mostly those pornstars who follow everyone on twitter and like 8 of my friends plus my boyfriend's kind mother) you know by now that I experimented with gluten free baking today.


I wasted 2 whole cups of almond flour because this dumb recipe I found called for 1 teaspoon of salt in these herbed scones and you know what it was just way too much. As stated on @BiteMeBlog these stupid scones taste like seawater and rosemary. Not appetizing.

The texture was fine; a little heavy because obviously almond flour doesn't have a leavening agent but it wasn't terrible. They're definitely better warm than cold but I have a sneaking suspicion they will turn rock hard when I try to microwave them.

I'm still going to eat the by the way because that almond flour is freakin' pricey.

Damn you internet. Damn you.

So let this be a lesson to us all: do not blindly follow random recipes you find on the internet. Unless, of course, they're from this site in which case do blindly follow them because they're all damn excellent if I do say so myself.

And I will make these scones again, just with some minor changes. Maybe with some cinnamon or nutmeg in there and some vanilla extract for breakfasting purposes? Who knows. Just a lot less salt, that's for sure.

Maybe I can convince Tommy to eat some of them before he sees this post and refuses point blank.

Oh by the way, you can get almond flour at any health food store and probably at well-stocked grocery stores too. I think Bob's Red Mill flours sells it. Also obviously Whole Foods and Trader Joe's.

2 c. almond flour
1/4 tsp. salt
1 tsp. fresh thyme
1 tsp. fresh rosemary
1/4 tsp. dried basil
1 tsp. baking soda
2 eggs

1. Preheat the oven to 375 Fahrenheit.

2. In a large bowl combine all the ingredients except for the eggs and whisk to combine.

3. In a separate bowl, lightly beat the eggs and then add to the almond flour mixture and stir until combined and it makes a batter.

4. Divide the batter up into about 10 or so scones and place on a greased (or non-stick) baking sheet. Bake for about 12 minutes or until tops of scones are a light golden-brown.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Aw nuts


Yes ladies and gentlemen, two brand new recipes in one day thanks to the crappy weather here in Alicante. Everyone said before we left that it doesn't rain here. Hardly ever. Think twice a year. It's rained three times since we got here and always on the weekend. Um.

Anyway, I'm really into making snacks with whole nuts nowadays because they're not only Paleo diet friendly, they keep me full and they have good calories in them. What I really want is a friggin chocolate filled croissant but my sense of self preservation deters me.

So I made fried almonds instead.

With tons of fresh thyme that I got for free at the Mercado Central.

Life's easier when you bat your eyelashes and tell the vendor you need to practice your Spanish.

And cheaper.

This recipe actually originates from the one and only Martha Stewart who may be a moron (and looks terrible in orange) but knows how to make some damned good snack food.

Another fun point: this recipe takes about 15 minutes and has only 5 ingredients. I am all about that kind of convenience.

Besides being a great snack food, these would also be nice for a fancy appetizer if you ever have dinner parties or any other classy things like that.

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 cups whole blanched almonds
2 tablespoons fresh thyme
Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
1. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add almonds and cook, stirring occasionally, until fragrant and light golden, 10-12 minutes.

2. Stir in thyme and remove from heat. Add salt and pepper to taste, then pour onto a rimmed baking sheet to cool completely. Once cool, store in an airtight container for up to two weeks.

Heads will roll

Before: a seemingly sizable amount of shrimp.
After: definitely not enough shrimp.

So Tommy and I learned a valuable lesson about buying fresh shrimp today: you do not get what you pay for. 9 Euros worth of shrimp equated to (cooked) about two mouthfuls. Ha ha, funny joke Mercado Central.  You got us this time.

That being said, it was a good experience learning how to clean (behead, peel and de-vein) shrimp and they were probably some of the best I've had. Fresh seafood is just so much better than the frozen stuff, both in taste and texture. They were firm and sweet and a little salty, not nasty and iodine-flavored like the frozen kind that come in huge packages.

Anyway, I threw together a magic coconut curry with the help of our family friend Jasmine who is from Jamaica and is one of the best cooks I've ever had the pleasure of meeting. She used to work in a restaurant back in Jamaica and as a result, refuses to measure anything which annoys me when I beg for her recipe for shrimp curry. Luckily, it seemed that Jasmine was watching over me because I totally made up a recipe and hoped for the best. Typically this is fine but curry is tricky, and too much spice makes whatever you're cooking really bitter and disgusting. This being my very first curry dish, I was extremely pleased with the results.

I also actually liked the fact that we put in some chicken breast along with the shrimp. Even though it was a quick fix because it didn't have enough protein, the surf-and-turf thing really worked this time and I'd do the same thing all over again. Except not with such expensive shrimp. Good god.

I know there are some kind of random ingredients here, because I don't really know any other 21 year olds besides me with curry in their spice cabinets but it's a good purchase just to have if you want to throw together a quick meal and it won't go bad for awhile. Plus, you can easily double or triple this recipe to feed a crowd. The only sort of expensive part is the coconut milk and even that isn't so pricey. You can also flesh this out with potatoes and green or yellow peppers and it'll taste great. Also, don't balk at the addition of a Grannysmith apple. It adds a really nice textural and flavor component and without it, the dish feels lacking.

Just hanging with my new BFF.

1 can coconut milk
1 quarter red pepper, chopped and seeded
1 quarter Grannysmith apple, chopped
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic
2 chicken breasts
1/2 kilo shrimp
2 tbs. olive oil
2 tsp. curry powder
1 small hot chile, finely chopped and seeded (or to taste)

1. In a large soup pot over medium heat, mix together the coconut milk, curry powder, chile and apple.

2. In a saucepan, saute all of the vegetables and garlic together over medium heat until just cooked (still a little crisp).  Add the veggies and cleaned shrimp to the stock pot.

3. Saute the chicken breasts until golden brown in the leftover oil and then add to the soup pot. Continue to simmer for 20 minutes or until fragrant. Serve over rice or eat it plain.

How to clean shrimp:

1. Pinch the head of the shrimp between your thumb and index finger and break it off sharply. If you're timid, it might not come all the way off. Do this over a garbage can because the head is where all the nasty stuff is.

2. Pull the tail off of the shrimp using the same motion. Don't yank sideways because you could pull off part of the meat too. It should slide off pretty easily.

3. From the underside of the shrimp, peel back the shell in between the legs. It may come away in one smooth motion or you might have to do it in parts.

4. Pull out the vein in the center of the shrimp. It should come out with relative ease but if not, use a sharp paring knife and run it down the spine. You can then pull out the vein.

This picture does not have anything to do with properly de-veining shrimp.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Anything that can go wrong...


It was the first night of Tommy and I trying out the Paleo diet. I had spent an inordinate sum of money at the Mercado (read: 20 Euros?) and bought a gorgeous hunk of bright pink salmon that I intended to slather with a sweet and spicy curry sauce and then serve with pan-fried eggplant.

It was not to be.

First of all, we had no curry powder. Tommy went out to get some after his workout at the Alicante rowing club and came back with paprika. This makes 3 jars of paprika we own between us now. I'd say that's a bit much.

Then I realized I had no idea how to pan-fry eggplant.

Oh and did I mention the nice ladies who sold me the salmon also gave me two free calamari squids? And when I tried to cook them they turned out rubbery and tasteless? Very little boded well for this meal.

Fortunately, the kitchen gods were on my side that night because the salmon experiment turned out fantastically well and the pan-fried eggplant did too, albeit a little greasy. Did you know eggplant is really porous? I didn't.

So the salmon is stupid easy: just a little mayo, paprika (obviously), salt and pepper mixed together and fresh ginger grated on top. I squeezed lime juice over the top to finish and it made it even better. This would have been delicious with some wild rice but we're not supposed to be eating grains...sigh.

About the eggplant: I honestly don't know how much oil or butter to use to properly pan-fry it. I just kept pouring oil in when things looked like they were sticking and it was the wrong choice. I'd say start with about  1/4 cup of olive oil and heat it until it's almost smoking then fry the eggplant in batches for a minute or so each side. Slice the eggplant so that it's at most 1 inch thick.

First night of the Paleo diet: check.

It's going to be a long ass week.


12 to 14 oz. fresh salmon
1/8 c. mayo
1/4 tsp. paprika
Salt and pepper to taste
1/4 tsp. freshly grated ginger
Lime (for serving)

1. Set the salmon on a large baking sheet lined with foil.

2. In a small bowl, mix the mayo, paprika, salt and pepper and spread it over the tops and sides of the salmon. Sprinkle the grated ginger on top of the mayo.

3. Bake for 20 or 30 minutes at 350 degrees Fahrenheit or until salmon flakes with a fork and is light pink all the way through.

4. Serve with wedges of fresh lime

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Ciao down

So sorry for the minor blogging hiatus, I was in Milan for the long weekend sans internet access. And honestly, I did not do as much eating as I wanted to. I think I spent more money on subway tickets than anything else.

Street eats
Here's the lowdown:

1. Apertivo is genius
2. I did not like the Italian pizza I tried
3. I had the best pomodoro of my life at our hotel restaurant
4. Spanish coffee > Italian coffee
5. Italian pastries are otherworldly

So apertivo is this fantastic thing where you buy one (supremely overpriced) drink and then you have access to an all-you-can-eat bar of delicacies. We went to this one bar twice it was so good. They had everything from foccacia and raw salmon to hard boiled eggs to spicy sausage and vegetables and chocolate croissants. And the drinks were seriously strong.

Italian pizza has great crust, very light and flaky, but I prefer very saucy pizza and this was heavier on the cheese than the tomato. That's fine for them, I'll stick to the classic Chicago Lou Malnati's.

When Tommy and I finally got to our hotel (which was family owned and no one spoke a word of English), we were starving so we decided to eat at the restaurant attached. We ordered plain pomodoro, which is basically spaghetti with tomato sauce. Seriously the best pomodoro I've ever experienced. I know hunger is the best condiment but this sauce was velvety and so tomato-y and garlicky and the pasta was perfectly cooked and I could have eaten a gallon of it. Damn.

Italian coffee is really not all that strong and it's impossible to get more than a drop of it wherever you go. We had some dope cappuccinos at the Duomo but once you got past the foam you were ready for another. Or like, 6 more. Why doesn't Europe understand the concept of a large coffee? WHY???

Italian pastries...good god. I could write an entire blog post about them. We only got one we didn't like which was this cherry-jam covered square that looked unreal and sort of just tasted salty and like anchovies or something. Not poppin'.

Everything else was fantastic. We had your basic apple/pear strudel with unbelievably flaky pastry crust but it needed more filling. Twice we got this bread thing with sugar clumps on it that tasted sort of like challah with some orange extract. Super fluffy and perfect for dipping in tea/coffee/hot chocolate. I want more right now. We also had these little twisty pastry sticks with chocolate or orange marmalade in them which were this unbelievably light and crunchy texture and covered in powdered sugar. Messy, delicious, totally worth the calories. My only request is more flavors.

And last but certainly not least...gelato. Man. Gelato. I can't really eat it because it has too much fat and it would make me puke but Tommy and my boy Bernie who is studying abroad in Milan both let me sample theirs. Cruel, cruel world. It's so much better than ice cream because there's almost no air in there so it's a lot richer and smoother. We stopped at this one little place after a picnic in the park and I got a tiny scoop of pistachio covered in dark chocolate and it was (almost) all I needed to be happy. An enormous scoop on top of a cone filled with dark chocolate would've been better but one can't have everything.


So now that we're back, Tommy and I are going to try out the Paleo diet: no grains, no dairy and technically no legumes but I'm not sure how that'll go over because I need peanut butter to live. So stay tuned for Paleo recipes and probably a whole lot of whining on my part.

Chestnuts roasted on an open fire...literally.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Souper Bass

Here are things that suck:

The Green Bay Packers
People who tYpE lYKKK d!s <3333

I'm just one viral disease away from my goal weight!

Unfortunately for one of my good friends here with me in Spain, she is currently being stomped on by the latter of these things: the dreaded mono.

That poor girl left her apartment for the first time in a week this Sunday. Talk about terrible timing.

Another of my close friends from home had mono a few summers ago and thought it would be funny to eat an entire twice-baked potato from a rib joint near our houses and paid the price for it when she finally digested it a week later. With this in mind, I decided to whip up some chicken soup for my friend here in Spain to hopefully speed the healing process.

Let it be stated here that chicken soup has been scientifically proven to help bolster the immune system.

At first I wasn't going to blog about it because chicken soup is kind of boring, but honestly it's fantastic comfort food and it's so easy to make that once you've done it you'll be over Campbell's for good. My mom usually adds dried sage and a bay leaf or two as the base flavors but you can leave them out and it'll still be good.

Also if you want to cheat, use a pre-cooked rotisserie chicken. I prefer the organic ones from Costco but any will do.

If and when you add noodles, know that they will soak up a majority of the liquid if it sits in the fridge overnight so keep that in mind.

1 box chicken broth
2-3 cups of water
2 cups cooked chicken breast, chopped into bite-sized pieces
3 large sprigs of fresh dill
1/2 medium onion, minced
3 stalks celery, diced
1 large carrot, peeled and sliced into rounds
3 tbs. butter
Cracked pepper, salt to taste

1. In a large saucepan, saute the onion and celery in the butter over medium heat until the onion is translucent.

2. While the onion and celery are cooking, pour the chicken broth and water into a large soup pot, add the dill (and 1/2 tsp. sage, 2 bay leaves if you're using them) and the sliced carrots and simmer over medium-low heat.

3. When the celery and onion are cooked, add them to the soup pot and continue to simmer for about 20 minutes. Add the cooked, chopped chicken and simmer for about 10 minutes more, or until the carrot rounds are soft but not mushy. Serve immediately with cracked pepper and salt.

To add noodles: cook 1 or 2 servings of wide egg noodles separately until al dente (still firm) and drain well. Add to the pot just before taking it off the heat so they don't go all soft and fall apart like French soccer players.

This will keep, tightly covered, for about 3 days in the fridge and indefinitely in the freezer.