Tag Archives: time:10-20 minutes

Popcorn Mushrooms and Caprese Panini

4 Aug

One of the only things I’ve missed since becoming vegetarian is popcorn chicken. I think it’s the fried breaded coating that I miss rather than the chicken itself, so we decided to experiment with popcorn mushrooms. They turned out pretty well considering we completely winged it. :D

Of course, you can’t just have fried mushrooms for dinner. The basil in Bobby’s backyard has become rather prolific, so we decided to make caprese paninis. Fresh mozzarella is sooo gooooood…

Popcorn Mushrooms

White mushrooms, halved
Salt and pepper to taste (I like white pepper)

Prepare your station by placing the flour, eggs (beaten), and breadcrumbs in three separate bowls.

Coat the individual pieces in flour, egg, and breadcrumbs, in that order.

Heat oil in a skillet and pan fry mushrooms until golden brown. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Length of procrastination: 20 minutes

Eggity noggity nog

16 Dec

Eggnog! Nothing screams Christmas and then rubs it in your face quite like eggnog. I have missed out on this age-old tradition for my first twenty Christmases because I’ve always been suspicious of drinking eggs. It’s an abomination reserved for opera singers and stupid people in dares.

It’s not bad (Bobby was appalled that angels didn’t start chorusing; he froths at the mouth at the thought of eggy goodness). Hot chocolate will still be my holiday drink of choice, but give this recipe a try. There are a ton of baked good recipes that call for egg whites only, and it’s a delicious use for those sad, unwanted egg yolks. Plus, it’s ridiculously easy.

Modified from Williams and Sonoma

5 egg yolks
2 cups milk, divided
1 cup sugar
generous sprinkling of cinnamon
smaller dash of nutmeg
bourbon (amount depends on what exactly you plan to do after drinking the eggnog)

Beat the yolks together with sugar and one cup of milk. Simmer on low heat, stirring frequently. I tempered my yolks first, but I’m not sure if this was necessary. Better safe than sorry, though…I didn’t want to end up with scrambled eggs.

When the concoction thickens (it took me about 7 minutes), remove the pot from heat, add the second cup of milk, and let cool. Pour through a sieve to remove errant bits of cooked egg. This is the most frustrating part and will take you the better part of ten minutes. Grr.

Add the cinnamon, nutmeg, and bourbon to taste.

Length of procrastination: 20 minutes

no recipe needed

21 Jul

because all i’m making is fresh, squeezed orange juice. when i was in Serbia for the Summer World Universiade Games one of the things i got addicted to was freshly squeezed orange juice from the local SuperMaxi. The total cost was 295 dinars for a huge litre of the delicious stuff, or a bit less than $5. of course, i’d down the whole thing between the time we left the SuperMaxi and when we left the mall.


recently, i got a hand oj extractor, and went to Haymarket and bought a bunch of Florida juicing oranges. I’d never noticed but since the juicing oranges had really thin skins, they were hard to eat, but easy to juice, compared to navel oranges. and the juicer practically gutted each orange half, taking out all the pulp and leaving only a dried, empty shell. it was also alot easier than i expected. just think, while making juice you’re also getting in a good arm exercise. freshly squeezed orange juice is always a win-win situation.

orange juice

Length of procrastination: 10 minutes

Ways to prolong procrastination: Make lemonade. Then make limeade. Then make a strawberry banana raspberry smoothie in my new Magic Bullet.

Pan-fried Tofu with Napa Cabbage and Vermicelli

20 Jul

The weekend before last, I took a short trip back home to California for my dad’s birthday. Usually when I’m home, my mom doesn’t ever let me touch the stove because, in her words, she doesn’t like eating food made by people who don’t know how to cook. Ouch…burn.

To be fair, my mom is the best cook in the entire world.

This tofu, napa cabbage, and vermicelli dish is one that she taught me that weekend. And because she was swamped with cooking a banquet-sized dinner, she actually let me pan-fry the tofu! (Under her careful supervision, of course.) Progress is being made.

tofu and napa

Pan-fried Tofu with Napa Cabbage and Vermicelli
From my momma’s kitchen

1 package of extra-firm tofu
1 medium-sized head of napa cabbage
2 rectangular prisms of vermicelli (they usually come 3 to a bright pink mesh bag in Asian supermarkets)
cooking oil
sesame oil
soy sauce
salt, white pepper, Asian seasonings to taste
corn starch or other thickening agent (optional)

Put vermicelli in a bowl of cold water to soak.

Cut tofu into small, flat blocks, about 1/2″x2″x3″, and lightly pan-fry with sesame oil. Set aside.


Slice the napa cabbage and stir-fry for 5-10 minutes. They should still be crunchy and undercooked. Add in the tofu along with about 1/2 cup of the water the vermicelli has been soaking in and cover.

While you wait, remove the vermicelli from the water and cut into 6″ strands. This step is skippable if you don’t mind long strands of vermicelli or if, like me, you just forget. Add in the vermicelli when the napa is almost cooked through. It’s important not to add the noodles in too early because they’ll turn into mush if cooked for too long. Season to taste. I usually use soy sauce, salt, white pepper, and some Asian “vegetarian seasoning” from home. The thing is like MSG–it makes everything taste like magic–but has to be all-natural because I bought it at an organic/health food store. But I digress.

If you prefer your sauce to be a little thicker, feel free to add in some corn starch or flour.

When your napa is soft, it’s all done! Nom to your heart’s content. Or until it’s all gone.

Length of procrastination: 20 minutes

Ways to prolong procrastination: Cook some rice to go with it!

from late night to early morning

30 Apr

Here’s something to whip up in a really short amount of time for a lot of deliciousness. Last night my neighbors were cooking something that made me really want french toast, so I made a batch of my mom’s best french toast. It makes a really good midnight meal (with cold milk), and it also makes a really good breakfast. For 15 minutes, you get a snack before bed and toast and eggs the next day.


Mrs. Ren’s French Toast
From my mom’s kitchen too =)

  • 4 slices of white bread*
  • 3 eggs
  • honey

Even though i used wheat, white bread works better because the honey stands out more.

Beat three eggs in a relatively wide bowl, like a soup plate. Drizzle honey to cover one side of each slice of bread. Put the slice of bread, honey side down, into the egg. Drizzle honey to cover the other side of the bread, then flip it over to coat the other side in egg.

Heat a nonstick frying pan on high heat. Put the egg-coated bread onto the pan, then turn the heat down to medium. After about a minute, gently loosen the toast from the pan, and flip it to cook the other side. After another minute, the toast should be cooked and lightly browned. If the egg is still soggy in the middle of the toast, keep on heat until it cooks.

If there’s leftover egg coating, you can turn that into scrambled eggs, but be warned: it’ll be sweet.

Length of procrastination: 15 minutes

Snowy day breakfast

2 Mar

This entry is not really a recipe but just a note about how to make a bad snow day into a good breakfast. I biked through three inches of snowcover in the middle of the road this morning to find that the shuttle to work had already left. I was 1 minute late. You’d think that on a snowy day the shuttle would be late rather than early. But when I made the trek back, i decided to have granola and soy milk and a hard boiled egg for breakfast at home. The granola was from Next Dining, and at $1.60 for about a pound(? maybe 3/4 lb) it’s a really good deal. The soymilk was from a Starmarket but still good nonetheless.

Here is how to make a hard boiled egg, in case you didn’t know. Really, it’s simple, except I couldn’t figure out whether the eggs were ready or not, so use this as a quick guideline.

From GoodEgg.com:

1. Place eggs in a saucepan with enough COLD tap water to cover completely by 1 inch. Bring to a ROLLING boil over HIGH heat. Once the water is brought to a rolling boil, PROMPTLY reduce heat to a lower medium boil and cook an additional 10 minutes for a “hard boiled” egg. For a “soft boiled” egg reduce the time by a few minutes.

2. Remove from heat and IMMEDIATELY place eggs under ice cold water or in a bowl of ICED water to chill promptly to help yolks stay bright yellow. Chill for a few minutes in the cold water until the egg is completely cooled. This is an extremely important step which prevents the greenish “ring” from forming on the surface of the yolk over time. If the egg is not chilled immediately after cooking an unsightly dark greenish ring will eventually appear on the outside of the yolk.

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