Showing posts with label hunger games. Show all posts
Showing posts with label hunger games. Show all posts

09 April 2012

Cooking The Books: Addicted to The Unofficial Hunger Game Cookbook

Flower Power

Pretty isn't it? It's "Lovelorn Peeta Pita Wildflower Pockets" from The Unofficial Hunger Games Cookbook, de-pocketed as the "Tips from Your Sponsor" box said I could omit the pita and eat it as a big ol' salad.

Ingredients: edible flowers, mixed salad greens, lemon juice, maple syrup, kosher salt, fresh ground black pepper.

Just toss the mixed greens and edible flowers together, drizzle them with a mixture of maple syrup and lemon juice, season with salt and fresh ground pepper to taste and eat. It couldn't be easier. Well, it could. You could cheat and use your favorite bottled vinaigrette. That might shave 3 minutes off the recipe, but you'd be missing out on a really good thing. Maple syrup and lemon juice, while such a simple combination, make a surprisingly delicious dressing.

The hardest part of making this salad was finding edible flowers. I finally found a packaged mix of nasturtiums and pansies in the fresh herbs section of PriceChopper and they were good -- the nasturtiums a little peppery -- but it would have been cheaper and more seasonal to have held off and made this salad in May or June when my own flowers are in bloom. This salad looks pretty with nasturtiums, but violets or johnny-jump-up would work well for a Mother's Day salad.

For lunch, I served this salad with toasted pita bread on the side. I toasted the pita bread by brushing a pita with olive oil, quartering it, and toasting it in a 400°F oven for 10 minutes (flipping halfway through). The toasted pita was good, but next time I would sprinkle it with a little kosher salt or a seasoning blend like Penzeys Tuscan Sunset before popping it in the oven.

Since I bought more flowers than I needed for lunch, I made another version of this salad for supper. Instead of making more maple and lemon dressing, I used a splash of oil-free Pomegranate Vinaigrette from Cindy's Kitchen. I also added some leftover blueberries and corn to the salad.

Thursday Supper

(This salad was the sixth recipe I'd made from The Unofficial Hunger Game Cookbook and I have to say I'm really liking this cookbook. While it's not without its flaws, I've enjoyed every recipe I've tried and I can't say that of many other cookbooks).

03 April 2012

Cooking The Books: And Yet More From The Unofficial Hunger Games Cookbook

I was full of plans to make "Survival of the Fittest: Quinoa and Black Bean Salad For Bonnie and Twill" from The Unofficial Hunger Games Cookbook this weekend but I was a bit sick of quinoa after eating "Fresh From the Careers' Packs: Super Healthy Dried Fruit Quinoa Salad," delicious as it was, all last week. I had some mushrooms and one benighted leek in the fridge so I made "Raging Wild Mushroom Ragout," instead. While it is neither raging nor wild, it was dead easy and turned out quite well.

Mushroom-y Jacket Potato & Salad

Ingredients: shiitake and cremini mushrooms, leek, lemon juice, garlic, butter, heavy cream, kosher salt, black pepper.

The recipe doesn't call for it, but I ended up cooking the cream down quite a lot as, otherwise, the ragout was very soupy. I also didn't know how to serve the ragout, so I dumped it over Alton Brown's baked potatoes and that worked out quite well -- it made for a tasty and very filling meal. Thank god for the lemon, really, which gave the ragout a bit of brightness and kept it from being food coma-inducingly heavy.

In some ways, it reminded me of a dish I used to make many years ago when The Husband was only The Boyfriend. I'd saute garlic, red onion, and as many mushrooms as I could possibly fit in a pan in a combination of olive oil and butter, season them liberally with salt and pepper, and serve them on hot, buttered toast with big mugs of tea. It wasn't fancy, but it was filling, homey stuff ... and ohmygod I need to make that again, soon.

30 March 2012

Cooking The Books: Still More From The Unofficial Hunger Games Cookbook

So far, every recipe I've made from The Unofficial Hunger Games Cookbook has been just for me. The Husband, you see, doesn't eat berries in anything but dessert and quinoa would have to be heavily disguised or drowned in sauce before it passed his lips. This has been fine by me as I don't mind selflessly eating all deliciousness, but ... maybe I am a being an inconsiderate wife? Surely, there's something on my big huge list of TUHGC recipes to try that The Husband would enjoy.

Well, there was! "Moist Chicken and Basil Cream Sauce" was on my list and did not contain any ingredients or combination of ingredients The Husband would disdain. No, indeed. Chicken smothered in cream sauce was right up his alley. And mine, it turns out.

Chicken in Basil Cream Sauce

This was a really good dish. Really good. Creamy and rich, but also surprisingly light and bright on the tongue. Can't wait to make this again with fresh basil from my own garden. I strongly recommend you borrow The Unofficial Hunger Games Cookbook from your library just to make this recipe.

Ingredients for Chicken in Basil Cream Sauce

Ingredients: boneless skinless chicken breasts, basil, scallions, garlic, white wine, heavy cream, butter, dried whole wheat bread crumbs, grated Parmesan, freshly ground black pepper. No idea why I included low-sodium chicken broth in the photo, because it's not an ingredient in this recipe!

28 March 2012

Cooking The Books: More From The Unofficial Hunger Games Cookbook

Working my way down the list of recipes I want to make from The Unofficial Hunger Games Cookbook before it has to go back to the library next week. This third recipe I made, "Fresh From the Careers' Packs: Super Healthy Dried Fruit Quinoa Salad," is very delicious and so flagrantly healthy that I couldn't help feeling smug as I ate it. It also has a many ingredients:

IMG_3233

Ingredients: quinoa, salt, water, scallions, celery, dried cranberries, dried cherries, golden raisins sriracha, garlic powder, canola oil, lemon juice, toasted sesame oil, cilantro, almonds, shelled sunflower seeds. (The golden raisins were an optional ingredient recommended under "Tips from Your Sponsor").

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Sriracha, canola oil, toasted sesame oil, garlic powder, and lemon juice whisked together to make a tasty vinaigrette. (I recommend doubling up on vinaigrette as the salad was a little dry).

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Cooked quinoa, vinaigrette, dried cranberries, dried cherries, golden raisins, celery, and scallions mixed together.

Yummy

Serve at room temperature sprinkled with cilantro, almonds, and shelled sunflower seeds. Pretty to look at, yummy to eat.

This would be really good for breakfast, if you omitted the celery, cilantro, and scallions and used the maple vinaigrette recipe from Prim's salad.

26 March 2012

Cooking The Books: The Unofficial Hunger Games Cookbook

I brought The Unofficial Hunger Games Cookbook home from the library over the weekend and I have mixed feelings about it. It's rather contrived, trying way too hard to explain how every single recipe slots into The Hunger Games universe -- the description for "Hazelle's Beaver Stew with Rosemary Potatoes" goes too far by claiming "the beaver represents hard work and family." Dude. Sometimes a beaver is just a piece of meat. And where does a good suburban cook get beaver, anyway?

(She wants to know where to get some beaver) *snickers*

Ahem.

Hokiness aside, I must admit I am seriously enjoying cooking from The Unofficial Hunger Games Cookbook. So far, I have made two recipes -- "Pimm's Sweet Goat Cheese Salad" and "From Casual to Formal: Fruit Nut Spread At The Capitol Banquet." To me, they are both spring dishes and would work well served at an Easter or Mother's Day brunch. They're also reasonably healthful so you can feel righteous while eating them.

"Prim's Sweet Goat Cheese Salad"

Salad Ingredients

Ingredients: romaine, blueberries, raspberries, dried cranberries, sunflower seed kernels, chopped pecans, goat cheese crumbles, white balsamic vinegar, maple syrup, olive oil.

Maple Vinaigrette

Combine white balsamic vinegar, olive oil, and maple syrup.

IMG_3288

Toss the salad ingredients together. Drizzle with vinaigrette. Say "Ohhhh, pretty!" and eat. So good!

"From Casual to Formal: Fruit Nut Spread At The Capitol Banquet"

Berry Cream Cheese Spread

Ingredients: raspberries and blueberries, almonds, cream cheese, maple-flavored yoghurt.

Berry Cream Cheese Spread

Run everything through your food processor until creamy and smooth.

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Serve smeared on bagels or flat bread.

I made my spread with light cream cheese and low-fat yogurt and it's really quite good -- light, creamy, and full of berry goodness. It makes a nice change from regular cream cheese and is probably a lot healthier than the berry-flavored cream cheese spread you can buy at the market. I've been eating it for breakfast, smeared on toasted VitaBuns, with some extra berries on the side.

Will I be making more recipes from The Unofficial Hunger Games Cookbook? You betcha. Looking forward to "Fresh From the Careers' Package: Super Healthy Dried Fruit Quinoa Salad" and "Survival of the Fittest: Quinoa and Black Bean Salad For Bonnie and Twill" among others.