Month: January 2012

Cauliflower Crust Pizza Recipe (Doughless Pizza Recipe)

I think the reason I’ve been so motivated to cook, read, run, bake etc is the fact that I know I am about to start my hospital rotation so from Mon-Fri I will have a 9 to 5 schedule and probably won’t get home until almost 6. I am growing up and I am terrified. But anyways, yesterday I decided to try out this pizza where the crust is made out of cauliflower. Although it does not taste like dough, nor could I get it as crispy as I wanted to, it still tasted pretty bomb. Aka, I would definitely make this again and my roommate LOVED it (yay)! You can’t even tell you’re eating cauliflower!

I decided to make it low fat as possible, so its just topped with sliced olives, mushrooms, fresh roma tomatoes, red onion, and toasted fennel seeds. If you can, get some fennel seeds – its what gives sausage that certain taste and the aroma is heavenly and makes all the difference. I also made my sauce using a can of tomato sauce and diced tomatoes, but any premade marinara sauce would do too. Recipe adapted from Recipe Girl.

(more…)

Flowers for Algernon

So today was a BEAUTIFUL day. High 50s, pretty blue sky with fluffy clouds, sun shining, slight breeze -I knew I needed a reason to be outside. So I headed over to Hermann Park to go run! Afterwards, I decided to go walk around to a part of the park I’ve never been to before. In high school, I was required to keep an art journal. More or less, it was just a place to keep all my inspirations and the only requirement was that it had to be predominantly visual. I’ve been wanting to keep up with it again, but its hard when you’re never inspired or visually stimulated anymore. So I thought I would just bring my colorful sharpies with me and walk around until I got… well, inspired. It was good “me” time and I enjoyed the weather a lot.

Miller Outdoor Theater

Even though I go to class every day doesn’t mean I’m always paying attention to them. So that means within the past two days I had about 4 to 5 hours of class where I just sat and read my book instead of listening to lecture (oops!). During that time, I managed to finish another book. I read part of this in high school just for class but I never read the whole thing. Its been on my reading list for awhile so I finally got around to it. A fast, easy, and enjoyable read.

Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes

Following his doctor’s instructions, engaging simpleton Charlie Gordon tells his own story in semi-literate “progris riports.” He dimly wants to better himself, but with an IQ of 68 can’t even beat the laboratory mouse Algernon at maze-solving:

I dint feel bad because I watched Algernon and I lernd how to finish the amaze even if it takes me along time.
I dint know mice were so smart.

What I thought
FINALLY got to read this book. Most people I know love it and I usually like most YA required reading books (haha). The book is written in a journal style from Charlie’s point of view. As he writes his progress reports, you are able to see Charlie develop personally as his IQ rises from the operation. Since its only from Charlie’s point of view, there will be parts of the story that seems somewhat incomplete, however it does not play an integral part of the whole entire book. You grow with Charlie as he is the eager “moron” that wants to learn, then becoming so intelligent he becomes unrelatable, to his regression backwards as the operation seems impermanent.

I like how at the beginning of the book, it really seemed like it was reading a journal. Towards the end, it seemed more like a narrative and realistically, most people don’t write like that as a personal journal entry.  You see him grow intellectually, however, emotionally cannot catch up as fast. Over all I enjoyed the book and admit, a tear jerker at some parts.

**Disclaimer** I’m not writing this reviews to be insightful and really dissect the book, I just realize that sometimes I forget what books are about after awhile and this is a way for me to keep track of everything

The Infamous Momofuku Compost cookies

I am no baker. I feel like baking takes too long and requires too much precision and I don’t have as much freedom of adjusting and changing recipes because I don’t know the outcome until its out of the oven. I hate the lack of control I have when it comes to baking.

But my lovely room mate has been on a baking spree and last night after making my quiches, I have been yearning for something sweet to be in my mouth now. At first I was going to make these strawberry squares because they’re not too bad for you and amazingly delicious, but my whole thing right now is making things I’ve never made before. One thing that I’ve been wanting to make are the infamous Momofuku Compost Cookies which is a bakery based in New York. Also known for their crack pie, I decided on Compost Cookies because I love love sweet and salty things. So I used this recipe from Amateur Gourmet while increasing the amount of flour  to 2 cups and decreasing the baking temperature to 350 degrees. I baked 6 cookies, saw it was too flat and added another tbsp of flour. I also added 5 tea of ground coffee after looking at another version at The Curly Baker.  I used white/milk swirled chocolate chips, Reese’s, and Sour Cream and Onion Ruffles as my mix ins. I made these on a whim because I was bored and it was a rainy day, so I just used things I had around the apartment.

(more…)

Mini spinach and mushroom quiches

Although I am exhausted from initiation, formal, then working all weekend while still going out (why do I torture my body like this?) I thought I might as well be ambitious while school hasn’t really kicked in yet. Finished another book, worked out today, and now I made mini quiches for dinner! I did a lot of low fat substitutes, such as using egg whites (from the carton), really lean turkey bacon (apple wood bacon turkey), skim milk instead of half and half. Although, I did splurge and used some muenster cheese.

Originally I was going to go buy mini crusts or do a crustless quiche, but I started brainstorming of what I could use in a cupcake pan. Pancakes… waffles… but I decided just on toast. Instead of mixing in the bacon with the quiche mix, I layered it on top of the toast just to give the bread some protection from all egg mix just in case in seeped through too much. But to be honest, you can omit the bread and its just as good!

By the way, this bacon I bought from HEB was so delicious. Its super lean and only 40 calories a slice! Even with the muenster cheese, and using whole wheat bread, each mini quiches is about 120 calories so not too bad at all :) If I would’ve used all 2% cheese it would’ve been 20 calories less each.

Okay, recipe behind the jump.

(more…)

Another book done!

Goal: 150-200 pages per week but really, a book every 2 weeks. This one was once a part of Oprah’s book club thing and the recipient of the Pulitzer Prize in 2003. Read in 12 days with initiation and formal in between (welcome new Brothers of Phi Delta Chi!). Not too bad at all. I think I’m going to make quiche tonight too.

Middlesex: A Novel by Jeffery Eugenides

Synopsis: (from Amazon)

“I was born twice: first, as a baby girl, on a remarkably smogless Detroit day of January 1960; and then again, as a teenage boy, in an emergency room near Petoskey, Michigan, in August of l974. . . My birth certificate lists my name as Calliope Helen Stephanides. My most recent driver’s license…records my first name simply as Cal.”

So begins the breathtaking story of Calliope Stephanides and three generations of the Greek-American Stephanides family who travel from a tiny village overlooking Mount Olympus in Asia Minor to Prohibition-era Detroit, witnessing its glory days as the Motor City, and the race riots of l967, before they move out to the tree-lined streets of suburban Grosse Pointe, Michigan. To understand why Calliope is not like other girls, she has to uncover a guilty family secret and the astonishing genetic history that turns Callie into Cal, one of the most audacious and wondrous narrators in contemporary fiction. Lyrical and thrilling, Middlesex is an exhilarating reinvention of the American epic.

What I thought

I loved this book, the story, the way it was written, the point of view, everything. Written from Cal/Calliope’s point of view, he goes through three generations of family history, really going through the minds of each character. The author goes to great depths in developing all the characters in this novel, making it really personal. It is a very emotional book, which each family member going through many difficult obstacles and hardships. Although the premise of the book is about Cal discovering his genetic mutation, Eugenides does a wonderful job of creating a memorable story of all three generations of the Stephanides family. That even though Cal felt like a monster at times, he did not hate his family, he does not hate himself and that he is the way he is for a reason. Him telling the story from his point of view shows the love he grew for himself and his family.

Anyhoo, I’m getting really tired of reading Eat, Pray, Love. I tried picking it up again today and just couldn’t do it. I’m thinking about starting Swamplandia! or The Princess Bride for something more light hearted and easy.

String beans with tomatoes and beef

When most people think of Vietnamese food, they dream of fresh spring rolls with peanut sauce, steaming hot bowls of pho, and delightful, flavorful banh mi. What I always dream of is my mom’s homemade cooking and Vietnamese comfort food. However, most people never get to experience Vietnamese comfort food at restaurants so most people never have tried traditional, every day rice dishes.

A traditional meal in a Vietnamese household consists of one soup dish, one vegetable and/or stir fried dish, and one “kho” dish which is a caramelization process to meat. Or something to that extent at least. Served family style and white Jasmine rice on the side, I was spoiled my whole life with good and vast varieties of food. I haven’t been cooking for very long so I have yet to venture to cooking foods my mom usually makes me. While I was home this past weekend celebrating an early Lunar New Year, I sat down and asked my mom how to make certain dishes. Since she just eyeballs everything she does, this is my attempt of measuring out ingredients.

One thing my mom uses in almost her dishes is what I’m just going to refer to my Mama’s house seasoning. Its pretty much what she thinks is the perfect combination of spices for all dishes. The holy grail of spices. Goes on everything. Makes everything taste better.

Ok recipe now after the jump –

(more…)

When I dip, you dip, we dip


Every time I make this dip, everyone comments on how addicting it is. Its the perfect amount of creamy and its just so so good. Velveeta has a really sharp taste to it, so the cream of mushroom really balances it out. I’ve had queso where they just dump tomatoes and Velveeta but then the dip has that super American processed taste to it but I found that this dip is perfectly creamy and smooth. No pictures because we ate it all already and dip isn’t that pretty to look at anyways. Dip dip dip dip  did I say that enough yet?

(more…)