drunken zucchini noodles

greetings from fort worth! i have already lost count of my taco intake and i'm slowly adjusting to/falling in love with the extremely friendly stranger people here. they are so delightful, i even got an unsolicited rhubarb jam recipe from a lady at the market. (it has cherry jell-o in it!) 

a majority of my texas existence has been spent in a dark corner of the stage, wiggling my toe off in the name of vibraphone sustenance, and flipping through genius recipes during my breaks (you are a silly goose if you don't have that book yet). i can't see any of the singers unfortunately, but boy do they sound great.

there's one line in the opera that i could listen to over and over and over, it's towards the end when michael's character, who is starving and cold and searching for food, sings the most beautiful melody with the words:

...maybe there are worms in the backyard... 

the end of the world is near and, oh goodness, the way that michael sings this line gets at my deepest shivers. it's one of the most haunting moments in the piece and i love it with the same intensity that worms gross me out. am i doing a good job of convincing you to come? worms, blood, apocalypse? truly, this opera is a crazy delicious gem and day-long rehearsals do not feel so day-long. 

when i'm not in rehearsal, i'm working with a lot of lovely restrictions that aren't as bad as the apocalypse but still, errm, adjustments. a kitchenette with two hot burners, no oven, and a camera lens that has lost his ability to focus. so! eggboy said it will be like learning to write with my left hand, and so far it's been really quite exciting, in a cutthroat kitchen type of way. i had a morning of steamed stove-top cake research, i bought ingredients for a rhubarb curd crepe cake which i am going to attempt without a whisk, and, ok, i'm going to learn how to take a disposable camera photo. 

halp.

my kitchenette does not have a spiralizer, but my home does, and i miss it very much! it arrived in the mail right before i left, so i quick made all of the noodles that i could and pretended to be ali maffucci. you all have her book, right??? i am so into it, it makes me want to eat so many vegetables, i don't even know myself anymore. these drunken zucchini noodles were one of the first recipes i made out of it, because i miss the drunken noodles at sripraphai and also because "zucchini" was the first large word that i ever learned how to spell and for all of first grade spelling it out loud was my go-to party trick. 

it kind of goes without saying, but these noodles present an excellent solution to the conundrum of wanting to sit on the couch, watch veep, and mindlessly shovel thai takeout into your mouth, but not wanting to feel like poop afterwards. they're delicious!!! 


drunken zucchini noodles 

from ali maffucci's inspiralized

ingredients

1 tb hoisin sauce

1 tb low-sodium soy sauce

1/2 tb oyster sauce

1 tb thai chili oil

1 tb thai or vietnamese fish sauce

1 tb virgin coconut oil

8 oz ground pork

2 small shallots, minced

1 medium garlic clove, minced

1 red bell pepper, sliced into strips

2 thinly sliced scallions

2 medium zucchini, spiralized with blade a

3 tb chopped fresh thai basil leaves

clues

heat a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. add the hoisin, soy sauce, oyster sauce, chili oil, and fish sauce and heat for about 2 minutes. transfer to a bowl.

add the coconut oil to the skillet and heat until shimmering. add the pork and cook, breaking up with a wooden spoon, for 5 minutes or so, until cooked through and browned. add the shallots and garlic and cook for 2-3 more minutes.

return the sauce mixture to the skillet and add the bell pepper and scallions. cook for 1 minute, stirring frequently. add the zucchini noodles and cook 2-3 more minutes or until the zucchini noodles soften. fold in the basil leaves, taste and adjust sauces if desired.

enjoy!


-yeh!

pictured: bowls // pan // cutting board // spurtle

 

new york

how fired am i if i never want to see another tater tot for as long i live?

will my casserole dishes disappear? will i have to return my duluth pack? will the midwest barf me up in the same way that i want to barf up all the tater tots that i ate yesterday???

(i'm sorry, eggboy!! i'm sorry, eggfamily!!)

like if there is one downside to overhauling your wardrobe and replacing all of the college-era fitted clothes with grownup loose-fitting flowy garments that say i'm a married lady with a 9pm bedtime, it's that you *cannot* properly gauge your tater tot intake during an official sunday morning tater tot hot dog crawl around williamsburg. a crawl that was bookended by fried pickles and cheese curds. 

and now i find myself researching barbecue places for my next stop: texas. oy vezmir! where is my green juice.

this is all to say that aside from yesterday's tater tot-induced belly ache, this past week in new york was many types of marvelous. much of it was spent in rehearsal for dog daysand the rest of it was spent eating, drinking, hugging, making a wedding cake, telling my friend jeremy how good he is at the maracas (omg he is so good, go see him play), and basking in the sweet sweet sounds of mahler and george crumb. i saw friends i hadn't seen in ten years, ate hummus nearly every day, and at one point i dumped out an entire jar of sprinkles in the new food52 office. dreams do come true.

now i am leaving new york now with a full heart, a bingo win, and a baggie of salty swedish licorice, which i need you to get next time you're in a sweden. (thanks, hannah!)


here's where i went (and loved) during this trip:

hummus place // i have to go here every time i'm in new york. in my dream kitchen, there is a tap with an endless flow of hummus place hummus.

brooklyn larder // this is the other place i have to go to every time i'm in new york. their vegetables, romesco, muhammura, pistachio cake, and panade are just about everything. i'd eat so many more vegetables if i lived closer to here.  

breads bakery // this is quickly becoming another place i have to go to every time i'm in new york. one day i'll get there early enough to snag a shakshuka focaccia before they sell out, but until then their marzipan rugelach and cheese twists will have my heart. 

miriam // another great hummus place, and their zucchini cakes are little cheesy nuggets of perfection. 

cafe mogador // more hummus! and tasty labne and bread and cauliflower and everything else. and one day i must go for brunch.  

maison kayser // rob introduced me to their financiers and they are so good, even with the embarrassment of not really knowing how to pronounce "financier."

don antonio // marian and i split a pizza with walnut cream, zucchini, and smoked mozzarella and i ate it like the end of the world was near. 

greene grape // i'm mad at myself for not going here more when i lived so close to it. i'm also sort of mad at myself for not getting a jeni's ice cream sandwich and a bottle of this really good looking kentucky soy sauce when i went there.

kent ale house // stop #1 on tater tot crawl. great chili cheese tots, really great fried pickles.

crif dogs // stop #2 on tater tot crawl. i am forever a spicy redneck type of gal, and their tots were extra crispy and salty.

grand national // stop #3 on tater tot crawl. good tots. a good pineapple-y hot dog. jell-o shots. sunday afternoon bingo.

burnside // stop #4 on tater tot crawl. we all ditched the tots for their unbelievably amazing fried cheese curds. like, they were so good, they would even rival the ones at the fargo street fair.

dough // mmmm salty chocolate fluffy donuts. *blushing face smiley emoji*


ok, see you in texas!!!!

-yeh!

peanut butter snack cake

i know that our honeymoon was 5ever ago, but i still think about all of our little afternoon cake dates that we had in austria. nearly every afternoon on our trip, eggboy and i would sheepishly poke ourselves into an old cafe and assess the cake situation before looking for a place to sit. we were always just a wee bit tense until we actually had cake and coffee in front of us because we could never be sure if we were supposed to order at a counter, at our table, or if we should wait for a tray of cake to come parading around and then wave it down. it was stressful and my limited german wasn't such that i could confidently ask about a parading tray of cake, but boy is austrian café culture great.

what fascinated me most was how all of the cafés had such similar lineups of cake, and that they were all decorated the same way. like, all of the esterházy tortes in vienna had the same little squigglies and all of the punch cakes were the exact same shade of pink. it wasn't like some punk was sitting in the kitchen, deciding on a whim to cover an entire cake in sprinkles or make a naked cake and instagram it with a nudy joke. it was way more civilized than that. there were no sprinkles. 

after a week of afternoon cake dates, i learned that splitting a slice was simply not the way to go. eggboy eats cake too fast. he'd gobble up as much as he could without coming up for a breath and then open up his big paper map and linger over our path while i carefully ate each bite. i'd stare at the chandeliers, and get to know the texture and flavor of that cake. what made this esterházy torte different from the last esterházy torte? this glaze is like pudding skin..and before i could really get to know a new cake, it would be gone. so we started ordering two slices so that his rambunctious eating habits wouldn't leave me with no cake. 

we'd talk about who had probably eaten cake in that exact room and various cake-related history factoids. what kind of cake did mozart eat?? what do you think is the history behind the frosting squigglies? can you imagine what life was like for franz sacher???

it was perfect.

i miss it.

now that spring planting has started, i'll have to deliver some cake and a stanley thermos of coffee out to a tractor to relive our afternoon cake dates. 

but a fancy frosted cake with hundreds of years of history isn't so appropriate for a tractor cake date, i don't think. so here's my homey farmy translation of afternoon austrian cake: a finger food cake that isn't frosted or decorated, one that can be whipped up in a snap and enjoyed in such a rustic place as a tractor cab.

i know, unfrosted cake is a new concept for me. but once i tweaked this recipe just so, i decided that its moist sweet perfectly peanutty easy-to-make and easier-to-eat qualities left no need whatsoever for marzipan animals. so there you have it. no more excuses, go make cake. 


peanut butter snack cake

makes one 8-inch square cake

ingredients

1 c sugar

1 c all-purpose flour

3/4 tsp kosher salt

3/4 tsp baking powder

 3/4 tsp baking soda

1 large egg

1/2 c buttermilk

1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

1/4 c flavorless oil, like canola

6 tb water

1/2 c creamy peanut butter*

 

for serving:

powdered sugar

*the peanut butter that i use for this recipe only contains peanuts and salt, like smucker's natural and target's market pantry all natural.

 

clues

preheat oven to 350.

grease an 8-inch square pan (or something similar, like the pan that i used), line the bottom with parchment paper, and set it aside.

in a large bowl, whisk together all the dry ingredients. in a medium bowl, whisk together all the wet ingredients. whisk the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and then pour into cake pan and bake until the top is golden and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. begin checking for doneness at 25 minutes.

let cool for about 10 minutes in the pan and then turn onto a lightly greased cooling wrack. 

dust with powdered sugar, cut into squares, and serve! store in an airtight container for up to a few days, or freeze for up to a few weeks.

 


-yeh!

this post features goodies from zola registry! eggboy and i used zola for our wedding registry and we had the jolliest time picking out homeware from their pretty collection as well as being able to add whatever else we wanted from around the internet. (how else can you have a smeg fridge and silkie chickens on your registry?) if you are engaged and looking to register, check out zola and get $25 added to your account with this link! also be sure to check out my little baking-centric tastemaker collectionthanks so much for sponsoring this post, zola!!! 

here are the pieces that are pictured: red rimmed plates // blue rimmed plates // red rimmed mugs // gold flatware // blue rimmed baking dish // kitchen-aid // linen napkins // square cake stand

tater tot chicken pot hotdish

spring planting started yesterday and all i can think about is how grateful i am for the world synchronized skating championship online webcast. hehe. oops? i know, i should be celebrating spring planting (i am! here, have a cake!) but, like, any other time, i probably would have been a little salty if eggboy had tout à coup called way past dinner time to say that it would be another many hours before pizza o'clock, and last night it was received with something more to the effect of, ok the entirety of team russia 2 is dressed like black swan, there are tiaras, they're about to swizzle, g'bye. 

is this what being a farm wife is???

oh right! that and planning dinners that last for a long while on the stove or in the oven for the unpredictable nature of "dinnertime during farming season." we learned how to do that last year though, during the great sugar beet harvest shakshuka slow-poach showdown. whatever that means. now it's just a matter of getting back into the swing of things and not making delicate time-sensitive food like soufflés or al dente noodles.

i know, i don't even make soufflés or al dente noodles during non-farming season. but you know what i mean.

so i figured it was high a time as any to put my first tater tot hotdish recipe out into the world!

omg tots omg tots.

i know, they're moment-ing in brooklyn right now

but let me tell you about 1980s upper midwest church cookbooks and tater tot hotdish: they are married. tater tot hotdish is quintessential comfort food for eggboy and eggdad and egggrandma. tater tot hotdish : eggdad :: mum's mac and cheese : me. it's a staple at potlucks and you're not a minnesotan until you can properly apply a layer of tater tots to a 9 X 13 casserole dish of creamed soup.

let's review our hotdish definition: a meat, a creamed soup, a vegetable, and a starch, dumped together and baked until hot. typically a tater tot hotdish is hamburger meat, cream of something (mushroom?) soup, and peas or green beans under a bed of store-bought tater tots. mine is inspired by chicken pot pie: chicken, béchamel, and vegetables. 

and thyme. and miniature. and yes, store-bought tater tots, for now. 


tater tot chicken pot hotdish

makes 4-5 servings

ingredients

2 tb unsalted butter

1 small onion, finely chopped

1/4 c all-purpose flour

2 c whole milk

enough chicken soup concentrate for 2 c liquid*

2 carrots, peeled and chopped

1 lb boneless skinless chicken thigh, chopped into bite-sized pieces

1/2 c frozen peas

1/4 t dried thyme

black pepper

frozen tater tots! about a pound of them.

 

*i like orrington farms brand, which requires 2 tsp mix per cup, but other brands, like better than bouillon i believe only require 1 tsp. best to check the instructions.  

clues

preheat oven to 400.

in a large skillet over medium high heat, melt the butter and add the onion, stirring until soft, 5-7 minutes. stir in the flour so that it gets evenly distributed. dilute the chicken soup concentrate in the milk and pour it into the skillet. whisk the mixture constantly until it begins to thicken.

add the carrots, chicken, peas, thyme, and pepper, and simmer, stirring often, for 10-15 minutes, until the chicken is fully cooked. taste the mixture and adjust seasonings, if desired.

transfer the mixture to a 2-2 1/2 quart casserole dish or 4-5 mini cocottes--and then cover the bitch(es) with tater tots. 

bake for 20-25 minutes, until the tots are golden brown.

let cool slightly and enjoy!