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Thyme and Thyme Again AGAIN

21 Feb

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I first posted my version of this Bon Appetit recipe for Sunnyside Up Eggs with Mustard Creamed Spinach and Crispy Crumbs on the Gruel back when I started the blog. That was when I was using the Gruel largely as a way to keep track of the recipes I tried. My photography was even more terrible than it is now.
I remember loving this recipe, and thought it was a timely time for a recipe with thyme. And time for a recipe redo. With better pictures. And I will actually type out the recipe for what I made. Glory! Fun times. Good thyme. And I added some more spiciness.

Plus a version that is chilled and mixed with a chopped hard-boiled egg. Sort of an egg-vegetable-panzanella type thang.

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I like that variation with some salsa or tomato sauce on the side. And truffle salt makes anything amazing. It’s almost cheating.
I am up to all sorts of nefarious acting and writing and writing for acting projects I must go work on so I am not going to go on. But just know that busy as I am, I made time for you. And thyme for you. Times two.
Kisses, dahhhlings!
Sunnyside Up Eggs on Spicy Mustard Creamed Spinach with Crispy Crumbs adapted from Bon Appetit and the Panzanella Variation
1 slice of wheat bread, crumbled roughly
olive oil spray
5 tsp. wasabi mustard, divided
1 bunch flat leaf spinach, washed and loosely chopped
1 Tbsp. chopped canned green chiles
3 Tbsp. plain almond milk
1 tsp. chopped fresh thyme or 1/2 tsp. powdered dried thyme
Freshly ground black pepper
2 eggs, one to be fried or poached, one already hard-boiled
Heat oven to 400 degrees. Spritz the breadcrumbs with olive oil and toss with 2 tsp. of the mustard. Spread on a baking sheet and bake until lightly browned, 5-8 minutes.
Add a bit of water to a large pan and sauté the spinach just to wilt it. Take off heat and squeeze extra water out. Put in a small saucepan with the remaining mustard, green chilis, almond milk and thyme. Stir until medium heat until thick. Crank in some fresh pepper.
Now the fun. Divide both the spinach and crumbs in half adding half of each to a bowl with the chopped hard-boiled egg. Mix that and stick in the fridge to chill. Take the other half of the spinach mix, reheat as necessary. meanwhile, fry that egg. Toss the egg on top of the spinach then crumble on the crumb-age. Who knew you had thyme and time for two dishes?

Vegetable Crepes Say Oui

8 Feb

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Last Sunday was a long day and a good one. I watched no football. I went to an audition. I worked on lines for another upcoming audition. I made it to the tail end of improv practice. Then we had a show. Then went out with the group afterwards for a drink. Then I came home and worked more.

Then I poured a glass of red, got on hulu and queued up The Mindy Project and Super Fun Night to keep the laughs coming and ward off the cold. It was LA cold by which I mean I needed a sweater and a scarf if outdoors. Then I got cookin’. If I was Anna Thomas I probably would have gotten stoned.

And I barely heard that the Seahawks won. But congrats to my Seattle chums and aunt and uncle.

I am honestly not sure where Anna Thomas gets off calling these crepes, as they are quite thick.Even after I adapted the recipe, pureeing a bit after stirring the veggies in, this batter was still unruly and hard to deal with. Maybe it was the pot she cites smoking convivially in The Vegetarian Epicure that impaired her judgement? I’m not against her enjoying a nice smoke, I’m just speculating. Or maybe her thinking they qualified as crepes was due to the era in which the book was written? I guess she didn’t have Siri around to quiz on what made a crepe different from a pancake from a griddle cake. Good thing she didn’t include Mexican and/or Tex-Mex fare in her book. The Chillaquiles/Migas debate could go on for days. Delicious days.

As I rewarded my day of hard work with these crepes, so will the hard work you put into these reward you, regardless of how much beer and football made your day easy. Kapeesh? Ok.

I’m hungry. Let’s eat.
Vegetable Crepes adapted from The Vegetarian Epicue by Anna Thomas
A glass of robust red wine to sip whilst cooking
a dark and gloomy cold night out
olive oil spray
6 Tbsp. chopped onion
6 Tbsp. chopped scallions
1/4 tsp. chopped garlic (I used jarred)
1 jarred roasted red pepper, chopped
1 cup diced tomato (I used from a can. Convenience night, baby.)
1 tsp. dried basil
1 heaping tsp. dried parsley
sea salt
freshly ground pepper
2 T. + 2 tsp. flour
2 T. + 2 tsp. almond milk
1 egg
2 tsp. applesauce
grated Swiss cheese.
Heat a pan with olive oil spray, add onions, scallions, garlic and pepper and sauté until onions are good and soft. Add tomatoes, basil, parsley, and salt and pepper to taste and sauté until excess of liquid is evaporated. Use a blender to combine the flour, milk, egg and applesauce. Allow to sit about an hour or more. Stir in veggies when they are cool. Blend roughly with an immersion blender, you do want some chunk. If you need to add a dash of water to thin out the batter.
Heat a nonstick skillet with a wee bit of butter. Cook crepes using 1/4 cup batter for each until done on each side. Heat oven until 350 degrees. Put the crepes on a baking pan and sprinkle with a heaped up Tbsp. of cheese. Bake until melty and good. Sip wine. Revel Etc.

Everyone Else is Doin’ It

14 Jan

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I might jump off the bridge, I dunno. Particularly if it was a bikini bridge. I’m pretty much repulsed by that whole thing. The fact that it started as a hoax should say something about how dumb it is. Has anyone noticed that the latest body goals of women don’t have anything to do with the body, but rather with the absence of body? The thigh gap. The bikini bridge is the empty space between the swimsuit and your body as the bikini stretches across your sharp pointy hipbones. Gross. Okay, that is enough venting.

I have far too much to do to be jumping off Thinspiration Bridge, and I have enough practice with falling from high high heights. Maybe I’d do the real bridge jump, but I would have a nice bouncy trampoline arranged to catch me. That could be fun. Kidding, Mom. Just kidding. I wouldn’t put my head at risk, never fear.

In this post, we are going to look at chocolate as a metaphor for the trampoline under the bridge. And the jumping part I am partaking of is a green smoothie, which EVERYONE else is blogging up these post-holidays days.

My lack of spare time is actually part of why I make so many friggin’ smoothies. The other part is my deep love of wielding my immersion blender aka my kitchen paramour (I fit him in between the sexy beast and my boyfriend). A male friend of mine saw the base of it sitting out and briefly thought that it attached to something that would help me deeply love myself. I showed him the bladed attachment and assured him I am not that much of a masochist.

According to every other single blog in the entire universe, the green smoothie is what will save you, not kill you. Oh yes, it is “cleansing season” which is ridiculous, if you ask me. In theory it sounds lovely but in reality it is just a bunch of vegetables and juicers and blenders and overly enlightened people. Sorry if you are one of them. It’s ok. Different strokes for different folks. You’ve got your bridge and I have my trellis. This smoothie will neither cleanse you nor do your laundry, but it is tasty and healthy-ish.

All this being said, the fact that everyone was making these things called “Green Monsters” was intriguing. A well-named recipe can really lure a girl in. I do enjoy a good smoothie, so I gave a few recipes a try. After recovering from the various taste-bud wounds inflicted from jumping off overly banana-y tasting bridges, I decided to devise my own protein-filled, smooth, tasty, almost-ice-cream-sort-of smoothie that yah, yah, had some green in it, but in the form of fresh mint, yah? Yah. If you don’t have the fresh mint you can use some peppermint extract but then you only have a green-in-theory Chocolate Monster.

This Green Monster is rather pretty, to be called a monster, what with the fresh mint. But then, in real life monsters are neither green nor monstrous. Nor chocolate-y. Discuss.

Mint Chocolate Monster
1/2 cup cottage cheese
6 Tbsp. Chocolate protein powder (this recipe hinges on good-tasting protein, I use the MRM Veggie Protein)
big, big ol’ handful of fresh mint
handful of spinach if you feel it
1/2 a frozen banana, also optional
1 1/4 cup chocolate almond milk
sweetener of any ilk to taste
pinch of xanthum gum, if you like a super-thick drink
Blend like your life depends on it. You needs must blend this until you think it cannot get smoother and then a minute longer to get the aerated smooth texture. Unless you own a vita-mix in which case you probably just have to pulse it a second and you’ll have hot smoothie soup. If you have a vita-mix, good on ya. I’m jealous.

Out of character

7 Nov

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I got new headshots this week. It’s one of those harrowing experiences the actor deals with on a yearly-ish basis. We are expected to be able to distill who we are in one, brilliant, eye-catching shot that will read when it appears the size of a business card on the casting directors screen. And we are supposed to get one shot that conveys all that commercially and one that says who we are in a non-smiley way. A lot of folks make the mistake of getting awesome hrs that don’t say anything about their personality. Then casting gets a surprise when the actual person walks in.

The problem is, although every actor has go-to roles-I tend to be the off-kilter smart type for example-but if you are a good actor you can play a variety of roles. Because the truth is, no one is as one-dimensional as they may seem. In the last month I played an awkward loser, an accomplished lawyer, and a controlling girlfriend. Not counting all the stuff I auditioned for. So I’ve been thinking about character.

This recipe feels out of character for my darling Mark Bittman. It feels right for a retro cookbook, like Betty Crocker, or even a French cookbook, but not for Bittman of the miso vegan before six ideas.

But perhaps I should not put my man in a box. He deserves to show us all his sides. Even if they are the frumpy 50′s food dishes. Because those can be quite palatable. Even, dare I say, delicious. Which these eggs are. I want to make a joke about my eggs here but I can’t quite figure out how and I need to run off and get into yet another character so I’ll spare you the weird sexual innuendos and get to the good stuff.

I’ll be totally honest that my instructions on white sauce are not the most nuanced. This largely has to do with the fact that I’m a white sauce hack. Feel it out. You can do it.
Eggs au Gratin adapted from Mark Bittman’s How to Cook Everything Vegetarian
1 Tbsp. Butter
1 Tbsp. Flour
1/2-1 cup almond milk
1 Tbsp. Dijon mustard
Sea salt
Freshly ground pepper
3 hard-boiled eggs, halved
1/2 cup grated Swiss
Parsley
Paprika
Melt the butter and stir in butter. Cook and stir until it gets a wee but tan. Slowly whisk in the first half of the almond milk. I usually have to whisk like hell and sometimes use a heatproof spatula to break up any buttery flour clumps. Whisk in the mustard and a bit more almond milk to make a medium sauce. Add salt and pepper to taste. Spread a bit of your sauce in the bottom of a small pan. Lay eggs in, cut side up. Add in the rest of the sauce, spread cheese over, and broil until the cheese is bubbly. Sprinkle parsley and paprika over the top. Fantastic.

True Gruel

30 Oct

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It was my lil’ blogmuffin’s birthday. And I decided that in its honor, it was about dang time I made gruel for Gruel.

I searched around for actual gruel recipes. Apparently there is a delicious rice porridge dish (Korean maybe?) called congee that is sometimes referred to as gruel. I also found a broth-y sort of recipe for gruel in one of my favorite cookbooks, “The Breakfast Book”, by Marion Cunningham.

I was told by a friend that the rice porridge dish was great. But I wanted something with the original name of “gruel”.

I also wanted an excuse to open a bottle of wine.

Not that I need an excuse, per se, but like a sweater carried around just-in-case, it’s nice to have one.

Sorry for that metaphor. It was stupid, but too true for me to leave out.

I originally wanted the term “gruel” for this blog because a lot of food that doesn’t look good (like gruel), still tastes amazing. That is the “scrumptious” part. I’ve gotten a bit better at making my food somewhat prettier, I guess. But I still like to think of this blog in “gruel” terms. It’s rough, and ready. It is strong. It is here to nourish you. And me. Duh. Blogs are the most narcissistic invention there is.

I love my blog.

I also enjoy the Oxford comma, incidentally.

Marion’s gruel recipe is not too specific. Most elements it tells to you can add if you like. When it comes to wine, butter, and sugar, I always like.

This was actually quite good. Comforting as Marion promised. I was surprised.

I’m giving you a recipe for what I made but feel free to adapt “as you like”. And you will.

Happy birthday gruel!

Gruel interpreted from The Breakfast Book by Marion Cunningham
2 Tbsp. oatmeal
1 cup H2O
1/2 tsp. butter
Pinch if sugar
1 Tbsp. white wine (I used a dry Riesling)
Dash nutmeg
Soak oats in water for 20 minutes then strain the liquid into a small pan. Bring to a simmer and add everything else. Yay gruel! Pour a glass of wine and light a candle. Party time. Excellent.

Croque Ellen

29 Aug

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I really should remake this on another (cooler) day and post a better picture.

Problem was the yolk broke when I cracked the egg so I didn’t get that nice egg shot with the yolk standing up looking all pert and sassy. It still looks pretty sexy though, flowing out into the chasm created when I sliced into the sandwich. And dipped in salsa, who cares what it looks like? Tastes perfect.

It is my birthday, and being as such I giving myself the present of naming a sandwich I invented myself after myself.

I’m so generous.

I actually woke up one morning thinking of this sandwich. THAT was a new one. I wasn’t even hungry.

I was just coming to, rolling about in my bed as I do and thinking about the Croque Madame I made, and how it would use up at least one of my eggs before they went bad. But I was also thinking spicy. And thus was born this southwest-ish version. Call the tex-mex Croque. Call it the Croque Ellen.

And now, my dears, I will not even attempt to amuse you anymore as I must scurry off to Lock and Key and have toast to me. Bourbon time.

This is not so much a recipe as a recommended assemblage.
The Croque Ellen
2 pieces of bread
About an ounce of cheese
Salsa
Cilantro
Baby spinach
Egg
Toast yer bread. Layer salsa, cilantro, spinach and cheese as you see fit. If you don’t care for bread that is te least bit soggy be careful with the salsa, or maybe wait and just add on the side later. Cut a circle out of top slice but leave it in place for now. Put some cheese on top. Put it in the oven broiler for about two seconds to melt. Take the circle out and crack an egg in there. Broil until done. Or be like me and realize everything else is going to burn before the egg is done as I’d like. Put in microwave to finish cooking. Yea. So good.

Deconstructed Reconstructed

15 Aug

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I started writing this post months ago, February, to be precise. It is a good thing I have many backlogged posts since at the moment my right arm is out of commission. I was going to post a summer-y recipe, but I saw what I had titled the post for this recipe and could not resist using it now.

Much like the egg in this recipe, I am being reconstructed after deconstruction.

Take em’ apart, build em’ back up.

My spirit animal is a yolk.

Lemme tell you, there is nothing so thrilling as waking up from what was supposed to be a 20 minute easy-peasy surgery and seeing a wrapped up and splinted arm, being in some of the worst pain of one’s life, and being told you were under the knife for about an hour and a half because there were complications.

Whoops-a-daisy!

Apparently the hardware in my arm needed a lot more finagling than they thought.

I have good painkillers, it’s gonna be okay.

When my mom (who has valiantly cared for me throughout this, despite my terrifically bad humor about it all) got me home, in my still-coming-out-of-general-anesthesia haze, I found myself craving nothing so much as the raw vegan tacos from Sage.

LA, you have defeated me.

Celebrate your working arms and hard-boil an egg. Deconstruct and mash. Egg violence! Then reconstruct and savor.

Do it for me. Do it for your arms.

Do it for Fannie:

Remodeled Egg (adapted from Fannie Farmer and this here recipe)
1 raw egg, separated
1 hard-boiled egg (whites chopped, yolk sieved)
1/2 tsp. melted butter
Pinch salt
Pinch cayenne pepper
Flour
Mix hard-boiled egg, butter, salt and cayenne. Add raw yolk, just a drop or two at a time until you can form it into balls. Roll in flour and sauté in butter.
Lotsa butta.
Heat oven to 350. Beat raw white to stuff peaks and nest in a small pan. Bake until done, about ten minutes.

Balls. Into nest. Done.

I also tried a version where I poured the egg white around the balls as they sautéed but it was not as becoming:

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The Things We Ate

7 Aug

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I’m giving you two recipes AGAIN this week. Like I did last week.
I am going spoil you silly, my loves.

One recipe is gooooood (see above pic) and one is not. These recipes are both from a vintage cookbook. Chosen because of last week’s occurence.
All this is pre-amble to today’s tale:

Go crazy cooking nerds! I spoke to America’s Test Kitchen. Yep. Me, on the phone with Chris Kimball and Bridget Lancaster. Or B-lanks, as I like to call her. I called their podcast because I was a nerd, with a nerdy question about my nerdy vintage cookbook. Then I geeked out with them about those funny, funny quotes in the book about men and chervil.

Men and herbs. Hilarious.

I was SO NERVOUS. More nervous than when I perform. Well, maybe not quite as nervous as doing stand-up makes me, but I was at least as nervous as I am before an improv show. That’s the comedian’s scale of of nerves, I guess.
Listen to my nerdiness here. I come in around 8 minutes, 26 seconds.

Speaking of nerves, I am only mildly nervous for an improv how this Friday.

Right now my mind is more pre-occupied with nerves for this bloody wrist surgery I am getting Monday. Seems like things in my bionic arm are not in place, and one of the many plates in it needs to be taken out. If you wanna know the full bionic story i chronicled it here.

Yeaaaaaahhhh. It’ll be ok. Maybe I can get someone to take a picture if the innards of my arm. I’d do it, but I’ll be under anesthesia.

It’s FINE. Really. I’m being dramatic here.

Anyway. Food! Lets!

I included the disgusting Mulled Jelly recipe I told my ATK friends about in the interview. Scroll past for the deliciousness that is the other recipe. It is for egg toast. It’s a keeper.

The jelly.
Why bother trying to make it purty?

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Grody!
It takes second in the weird department only next to the Dimetapp Pie made by the brilliant MadMan.

God I love italics. I even love the word italics.

Mulled Jelly

1 egg white
1 Tbsp. grape jelly
1 tsp. sugar
1 teacup boiling water
1 large cracker (or very dry toast)
Firstly, ya beat up the first few ingredients. Add agua and keep beating. Crack in the cracker. Choke down in the name of art.

Now the good. Not sure why it is called Nun’s Toast. Much like 1600 Penn today, there are many mysteries in the 1915 White House. Cookbook.
Nun’s Toast adapted from The White House Cookbook
Olive oil
1 Tbsp. butter
2 Tbsp. chopped onion
1 tsp. flour
1/2 c. Almond milk
2 sliced hard-boiled eggs
Sea Salt
Freshly ground black pepper
Toast, buttered
Spray a small pan with olive oil and add butter. When it is melted, add onion. When onion is softened, add flour. Add milk stir all until smooth. Add eggs, salt, and pepper to taste. Stir until hot then pour over toast. Which is buttered. Duh.

Chili cheese French toast

26 Jun

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Good fun from Mr. Breakfast.

While I’m on a sandwich kick, I figured, why not? Yeah, so I’m not a sandwich person.

Except when I am.

Sure, I have zero nostalgia for this sandwich. If last week’s eats were the food equivalent of The Rocky Horror Picture Show, this week’s sandwich is a far more artistic film. Let’s say The Artist. A creative French-toasted sandwich for a creative French film. And yet both of them actually made in Los Angeles.

Deep.

Next I’m gonna match a sandwich to my favorite movie of all time: Clue.

To be eaten eaten in the ballroom.

By candlelight from a candle in a very sinister candlestick.

Preferably served by Tim Curry.

Huh, he is now tied, cinematically, to both sandwiches.

The plot thickens.

Enough! Go make this sandwich. Make it pretty. Make me proud.

Chili Cheese French toast adapted from this recipe

3 Tbsp. egg
1/4 c. Half and half
Dash salt
2 pieces of bread
1 oz. shredded cheese (I had reduced fat Swiss)
2 Tbsp. canned diced green chiles
2 Tbsp. diced cilantro
Heat the oven to 400. Line a pan with nonstick foil then spray, just in case. I believe in “just in case”. Which explains my overly full purse. Really, it’s a wonder I was not a scout. egg, half and half, and salt. Dip one piece of bread in the mixture and put on foil. Spread on cheese, then chiles, then cilantro. Dip the other slice and place on top. Cook until golden brown, ten minutes-ish. Then flip and cook some more. Nice. Very much so.

Radish, butter, salt

6 Jun

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It’s just that simple. Cut radish in half. Spread with butter. Sprinkle with fleur de sel.
In other exciting news, I wrote the America’s Test Kitchen podcast with a question and friggin’ got to talk on the phone to Christopher Kimball and Bridget Lancaster. If they air it I’ll link up that shiznit.
There is also this:

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