Sunday, August 29, 2010

The Wonderful World of Wontons

Me and Pauline with the stir fry.

Hello loyal blog-readers! This is Johanna speaking, part-time and unofficial resident at Baldwin. After a spectacular lunch of reheated lentil soup and croissants a la cheese and canned ham, Pauline and I trekked over to the now infamous Chinese grocery store for some supper prep. Ariel and Danielle had arrived at the apartment a couple hours earlier excitedly bearing a stack of amazingly cheap frozen wontons (140 for $10!), and our plan for the evening meal had expanded to wonton soup, stir fry and rice, brownies, and pina coladas.

The wonton soup was a particular hit, and was suprisingly easy.

Ariel adding the egg.
The first step was to make a chicken broth. We used a mysterious Chinese container of 'Chicken Flavour' that Pauline and I had located after a long search through the many bottles of crab, beef and squid extract. Once that was nice and hot, we added in two packages of the wontons, and some sliced green onions and black pepper for flavour.

As a final touch, for extra class and deliciousness, Ariel cracked an egg into a bowl, beat it with a fork, and poured it into the hot soup. The egg cooked nicely in the broth and was a really fine addition to the dish.

All in all, it was a thoroughly satisfying meal. The after dinner drinks were a particularly nice and rounded off a lovely evening. Until my next cooking adventure at this gourmet flat, happy eating!


Ariel's amazing Cream Cheese Brownies.

Fuck yeah breakfast!

Hello! This is Pauline, the Baldwin Resident recently returned from Central Pennsylvania. As Ariel and I are currently on a giddy pre-semester cooking binge (call it the honeymoon phase of this project), we made outrageous breakfast for ourselves and Danielle this morning. Danielle sat in then den in her hoodie looking sleepy and bemused as Ariel and I went into transport of delight over the onions from Chinatown. These things are ridiculous. They're strong enough to make you cry if you're in the room down the hall and have been hiding from the whole cooking process (*cough* Danielle).

Anyway, Ariel & I are  in the middle of an infatuation with Hua-Sheng, the Chinese grocery store a block or south from us.  Six hefty blocks of fresh tofu will only cost you a dollar and sixty cents. This store and our apartment-family were made for each other.

On the menu this morning were vegan scrambled tofu, Ariel's strange and wonderful potato-feta-rosemary pancakes, and bacon, which kind of ruined the whole vegetarian theme.

This is our scrambled tofu recipe, adopted from Fresh (only a little less hardcore).

Saute either one regular onion (diced) or PART of one of the magical Chinatown ones, with three minced cloves of garlic until mostly translucent. Crumble somewhere between one and three blocks of the fresh tofu into the pan and cook for a couple of minutes (you need to do this with FRESH tofu, it's like heaven and hell compared to anything that comes wrapped in plastic). In the meantime, mix two teaspoons of dill weed with two teaspoons of garlic powder, a serious pinch of turmeric, and some ground salt and pepper. The turmeric will make the tofu all goldeny and allow you to convince your unsuspecting friends that they're being fed eggs. Add enough water to this mix to make a thin sauce, then pour this over the tofu and cook till the liquid has been mostly absorbed. Eat and marvel at the delicious onions.

While our breakfasts may devolve into more pedestrian dishes such as dry Cheerios during the semester, who wants to think about that? We're in love and willing to throw caution to the winds.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

The Real 'L' Word: LENTIL

I love lentils almost as much as I love lesbians and I have been nagging Ariel for ages to make lentil soup (you will only be wondering why I did not attempt to make soup myself if you don't know me at all).  I love lentil soups of all permutations, however, Ariel is only interested in lentil soup of the incredibly pureed variety.   Ariel worked very hard and the resulting soup did not disappoint:  this soup is thick and satisfying with a hint of spice.  We've already made another batch, triple the original quantities.

Ariel's Egyptian Red Lentil Soup

1 large onion, chopped
4 garlic gloves chopped, divided
1 medium potato, peeled and cubed
2 1/2 cups chicken stock
Juice of 1 lemon
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Handful of flat-leaf parsley, chopped

Rinse lentils until water runs clear.

In a large pot, heat 5 tablespoons olive oil. Add onion and 2 garlic cloves. Sauté until soft; stir in 2 teaspoons ground cumin.

Add potatoes, stir well and cover pot. Sauté vegetables lightly on low heat until they start to soften. Add red lentils, stock and enough water to cover vegetables well.

Bring to a boil, cover pot and reduce heat. Simmer until lentils are soft and begin to break down, adding water as necessary (lentils soak up a lot of water during cooking). Skim off any foam and discard.

Blend soup in a food processor until smooth; stir in lemon juice and add salt and pepper.

Sprinkle olive oil, lemon juice and a sprig of parsley for garnish.

A Soup So Good Ariel Licks Her Fingers

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Giving our Kitchen a 'Ninja Clean'

Baldwin is a magical apartment inhabited by three girls who like to experiment with recipes and such.  I, Danielle, am the lady friend of one of these girls - Ariel -  and although I am not much for the cookin', I do like some good bloggin'.  In exchange for sharing in the spoils of the Baldwin Food Experiment, I thought I'd do some documentation work here (aka, there's nothing like hype to get people motivated!!!). 

But before the cooking even begins, we first had to clean the Baldwin Kitchen.  At left is the 'before' picture - a sad state of affairs.  
At right is me in the process of cleaning the kitchen.  Truth be told, the person who did most of the work was my girlfriend the Actual Baldwin Resident, however, I chipped in due to the promise of a photo shoot (keep in mind that I am so averse to cleaning I had to wear gloves even though I was relegated to dish drying duty). 

You may be wondering how we ever let the Baldwin Kitchen deteriorate to such a level.  Although the guilty party shall remain nameless, I can assure you that it was no one who will be featured regularly in this blog.
Pictured last is not only an 'after' shot but also a 'preview' - as I am contemplating a bowl of lentils we are soaking for a future batch of lentil soup.  We have had these lentils for many many months and I have finally convinced Ariel to use them because I am letting her puree them to death (thereby eliminating the lentil association). 

Stay posted for updates on our cooking adventures because I foresee many heart-warming, meal-centred experiences over here chez Baldwin.