Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Hot Plates... Who knew, right?

My "kitchen" is comprised of a table and a hot plate, accompanied by various plates and pans that I have accrued or purchased along the way. It's actually a rather festive-looking little nook and something that I am increasingly proud of. But even more than that, I am proud of the fact that I have been turning into quite a hot plate food item connoisseur. It's an amazing world of food that you can create using just a hot plate, seasoned with liberal amounts of olive oil, salt and pepper. Since I generally don't make pasta for myself anyway, it's a really great method of keeping excessive amounts of carbs at bay. I have been tempted on and off to add a toaster oven to my little kitchenette, but my main fear is that I will instantly be overwhelmed by the impulse to stuff my face with cheesy melty yummy tummy bready foodstuffs. In the meantime, I am quite happy with the success I've had, and wanted to share the simple recipes I have thus far concocted...


In Paris, they have these nice little medleys of vegetables sold in the grocery store purposely packaged to make a delightful little soup. They usually consist of a potato, a carrot, an onion, a stalk of celery, and what appears to be a rutabaga. In addition to salt and pepper, I used a seasoning mix of oregano, basil, and rosemary amongst other things. Precooking the chicken with a bit of olive oil, I threw it in after letting the soup simmer for a bit. I also used a combination of chicken and vegi bouillon cubes.  And gluten free noodles, b#&@tches! I've tried it a second time since then, replacing noodles with white rice.


One of my very lovely sisters sent me a fabulous Thanksgiving care package, with all of the typically American boxed food-like fare including potatoes au gratin, stove top stuffing, and candy corn. For my solitary holiday meal, I made the boxed scalloped potatoes in a pot, sautéed some chicken with olive oil, salt, and pepper, and added some healthy greens next to my canned cranberry jelly sauce. Happy Ex-Pat Thanksgiving!!!


Harkening back to the days of my youth, I did my best to remember my dearest Mommy's recipe for stew. I used my trusty old frying pan to sear the pieces of beef I had covered in flour, chopped up some carrots, potatoes, and onions, then added them all to a bunch of boiling water and let it get a cookin' for a while... Hearty, easy, and very happy tummy!


Just the other day, I decided I needed to mix things up a bit and try my hand at quinoa... Easiest thing to make ever, but how to spice it up a bit so as not to be bland or boring? The sautéing tactic is really my most reliable, so I made use of some fresh broccoli, carrots, onions, and tomatoes, making sure to cook the hardier vegis longer than the more fragile ones. I added a can of white fresh water tuna right at the end, to provide some additional protein and a nice little burst of flavor! It keeps well and makes for some truly tasty leftovers!


Broccoli has always been one of my favorite vegetables, and the fact that it's green makes it extra special healthy. Sautéed with some chicken and the best staples of all, olive oil, salt, and pepper. I don't usually eat it over rice or pasta, as it stands on its own and saves the calories. Just be careful not to use too much oil or it can get a bit greasy without a carbohydrate sponge.


And little did I know just how much I adore salmon. Frankly, I think I could eat it every day, particularly because I discovered the way to cook it perfectly. Turn on your skillet, put some oil in the pan, and let that sucker get hot as hell. In the meantime, sprinkle your salmon with salt and pepper on both sides, a dab of olive oil as well. You basically sear both sides of the fish, the extra hot pan giving it that nice caramelized look. Over some basmati rice (my absolute favorite kind!) this makes for the easiest dish in my repertoire while also oft appearing my fanciest.


And now that I have officially channeled Julia Child, bon appetite!!!

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