Tag Archives: time:20-30 minutes

Cranberry Oatmeal Cookies — Surprise, they’re vegan!

17 Nov

At vet school, I’m one of the class secretaries. Funnily enough, I haven’t taken any minutes or scheduled any meetings. All I’ve done is bake.

Yeah.

It’s the secretary’s responsibility to help people celebrate their birthdays, usually with baked goods. This has given me an opportunity to try recipes I normally wouldn’t, like lemon bars, cheesecake brownies, and these vegan cranberry oatmeal cookies.

Guys, these things are out of this world. Fresh out of the oven, they’re crispy on the outside and chewy on the inside. They cranberry taste works surprisingly well against soymilk, and Bobby couldn’t tell that there were no eggs or butter involved. Try it even if you’re not vegan–they’re SO good!

Vegan Cranberry Oatmeal Cookies
Adapted from Madhuram’s Eggless Cooking

3/4 cup vegan margarine (I used Earth Balance Natural Buttery Spread)
1/3 cup sugar
3/4 cup dark brown sugar
splash of vanilla extract
1/2 cup soymilk (original flavor)
1 cup AP flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp ground allspice
3 cups dried oats
1 cup cranberries

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Cream together the margarine and sugars until smooth. Mix in vanilla and soymilk. For some reason, my batter became really chunky, like bad milk. I was pretty nervous about it–does margarine always behave like this? I kept mixing it, futilely hoping the chunks would homogenize themselves.

After about 5 minutes, I gave up and just added in the flour, baking soda, and spices. Surprisingly, I got a nice, smooth batter. Huh.

Mix in the cranberries and oats. Spoon the dough onto a greased baking sheet. My cookies were pretty freaking huge…I used a quarter cup measuring cup as a scoop. An ice cream scoop would probably have been a better idea. Bake for about 15 minutes, or until the cookies are golden brown.

The cookies will still be soft when they come out of the oven, but should crisp up after sitting on the baking sheet for 2-3 minutes. Ideally, you should then transfer the cookies to a wire rack to finish cooling. Since I don’t have one, I turned mine upside down on a cutting board.

Check out that monster cookie. Om nom nom nom… The recipe makes 20 monster cookies or probably around 30 normal-sized ones.

Length of procrastination: 25 minutes

Coming up next on Cooking to Procrastinate: Bobby visited me last weekend, and we cooked up a mini-Thanksgiving meal. PLUS, we’ve got another giveaway in the works! :D

Nachos and Southwestern “Chicken” Wrap

7 Jun

A lot has happened in the few months since our last post, including but not limited to the following:

  1. Cambridge got hot. And muggy. Gross.
  2. Bobby turned 27.
  3. I graduated college.

This post has nothing to do with any of them, but I just thought I’d let you know. There’s an ice cream cake post coming in the near future that has to do with #2, but more on that later.

Bobby and I were feeling southwestern the other day, so we made nachos…

…and southwestern “chicken” wraps. If there’s one thing those veggie meat manufacturers do well, it’s imitating chicken. I’ve been vegetarian for just long enough to barely remember what chicken tastes like, but Bobby confirmed my assessment. 

Yup, definitely chicken-y.

Anyway, we didn’t really have a recipe for either of these things, so we just winged it. And you know what? TASTINESS ENSUED.

(+one more wrap picture)

Veggie Chili Nachos

Ingredients:

Chips
Shredded cheese (we used “Mexican Blend” from Trader Joe’s)
Vegetarian ground meat

We piled the chips in a pan, put the cheese and veggie meat on top, and baked in a toaster oven for a bit, until the cheese looked bubbly.

Southwestern “Chicken” Wrap

Ingredients:

Sliced cucumbers
Alfalfa sprouts
Veggie chicken strips
Corn salsa
Flour tortilla

We lightly sautéed the chicken strips, then piled everything in the tortilla. Wrap it up and om nom nom nom.

(What do you mean the wrap’s not southwestern? It’s….it’s got salsa in it! That’s southwestern, right? Right?! Whatever. It’s my blog and I’ll call it whatever I want. :D)

Length of Procrastination: 20 minutes

Savory Crepes

2 Feb

Back in high school, I worked for a few months at a PMT (boba, to all you non-NorCal-ers) shop taking orders, making drinks, and, most deliciously, making crepes. There’s this big, flat, heated stone…thing that you’d ladle crepe batter onto and spread with a wooden T-shaped stick. All the Californians know what I’m talking about.

Sorry. I get re-infused with NorCal pride every time I go home.

Anyway, I was given a lovely can of Williams and Sonoma crepe mix this past Christmas, and couldn’t wait to try it out. In the absence of a conveniently flat and crepe-sized stone-oven-rock-thinger, I just used a frying pan.

Avocado and Portabello Crepe with Tomatos and Alfalfa Sprouts

1 cup crepe mix (plus water, eggs, oil, etc. as stated in the instructions)
1/2 avocado, sliced
1/4 tomato, sliced
1 portabello cap, sliced
alfalfa sprouts

Mix water and the crepe mix according to instructions. Over low heat, pour the batter thinly onto an oiled skillet. When the crepe solidifies, carefully flip the crepe to heat the other side. The second side cooks quickly, just as the second side of a pancake does, so watch it carefully!

In another skillet, lightly sautee the portabello slices. Place the slices onto a quarter of the crepe, then layer avocado slices and tomato over them. Fold in half and slide onto a plate for easier handling. Feel free to add any type of spread before folding the crepe. At my PMT shop, we used a secret sauce of mayo, sugar, and other stuff you probably don’t want to think about putting in your body. Hummus would make a wonderful substitution.

Fold again into a quarter piece, and stuff some sprouts in the empty pocket. Don’t worry about it being pretty…it’s all going to the same place anyway.

Length of procrastination: 20 minutes

Sweet mung bean soup (綠豆湯)

29 Apr

This is quite possibly the simplest soup you’ll ever make, short of heating up a can of Campbell’s or something. It’s perfect hot on a frigid winter morning or cold on a warm spring afternoon.

Sweet Mung Bean Soup (綠豆湯)
From my momma’s kitchen. No, really.

  • 1 small pack of mung beans (available at your local Asian supermarket)
  • sugar (preferably rock sugar, also available at your local Asian supermarket, but brown or white work as well)
  • a lot of water (roughly 1:4 ratio mung beans to water by volume)

Bring water to a boil. Add mung beans. Cover and cook until beans are soft, about 30 minutes. Add sugar to taste.

That’s all there is to it. Told you it was easy. Stick it in the refrigerator if you want to drink it cold.

Length of procrastination: 30 minutes

Ways to prolong procrastination: Pour leftover soup into an ice tray, cover with saran wrap, stick toothpicks in each compartment. Freeze, and you have yourself mung bean popsicles!

asian lettuce wraps

23 Apr

in preparation for the Columbia taekwondo tournament, many people are probably cutting weight and eating very little. here’s a way to kick the boredom of your old salad and put some spice into that leftover head of lettuce. or, you could just make these lettuce wraps because they’re so damn tasty. p.f. chang’s got nothing on us!

lettuce-wraps

lettuce wraps with furikake and rice cake crumble

ingredients
1 head of lettuce
3 mushrooms
1 medium carrot
1 celery stem
1 white onion
1 clove garlic
1 chicken breast (optional)
olive oil
sesame oil
mushroom flavored soy sauce
1 unflavored rice cake
furikake topping

Dice the carrot, celery, mushrooms and onion. The pieces should be small but can still be chunky for texture. Crush and dice the garlic. In a sautee pan, heat olive oil and brown the garlic, then add the carrot and celery Sautee until the ingredients are starting to soften, and add the mushroom and onion. Add soy sauce and sesame oil to coat all the ingredients. Cook until onion is caramelized.

lettuce-wrap-ingredients

If making chicken lettuce wraps, cut the chicken breast into chunks, and cook in olive oil. Add sesame oil, soy sauce, and salt and pepper to taste. After chicken is thoroughly cooked, remove from heat, and on a chopping board, further cut the chicken into small chunks. Mix in with the vegetable ingredients.

Crush the rice cake using a spoon in a bowl, or just using your hands.

Arrange the lettuce wraps. For each wrap, spoon out some filling into the middle of a large (contiguous) piece of lettuce. Sprinkle rice cake crumble and furikake on top, wrap, and enjoy.

lettuce-wrap-close

Length of procrastination: 20-30 minutes
Ways to prolong procrastination: Hold a charity fundraiser and serve lettuce wraps as finger food, along with pineapple skewers (recipe to come) and mushroom crescents

Stir-fry Noodles With Two (!) Kinds of Onions

5 Mar

I’ve been craving noodles for the longest time. Specifically, I want steaming bowl of honest-to-goodness, hand-pulled ramen with miso soup (sans bonito flakes), mushrooms, and scallions. Because there’s a 7.10 exam on Thursday and a 7.23 exam on Monday, ramen at Porter Square seems a little out of reach. And since Bobby and I lacked the time and ingredients to make any kind of real broth, stir-fry noodles it was.

Stir-fry Noodles With Two (count ’em!) Kinds of Onions

Ingredients

  • enough noodles to fill your stomach — we used flat buckwheat noodles that my parents sent from California, but honestly any kind of Asian noodles works
  • 1 red onion, chopped
  • 1 stalk green onion, chopped or a handful of frozen chopped scallions
  • 1 clove garlic, diced
  • 1 small potato, sliced
  • any other kind of veggies, sliced
  • olive oil
  • vinegar
  • soy sauce
  • salt
  • pepper
  1. Bring water in a large pot to a rolling boil. Cook the noodles on low heat for 2-3 minutes.
  2. While the noodles are cooking, heat about 2 tbsp oil in a wok. Add the garlic and scallions and stir-fry until you can smell the aroma. Be careful if you’re using frozen scallions because the water will cause the oil to splatter all over the place.
  3. Add another generous amount of oil and stir-fry the rest of the onions, the potatoes, and any other vegetables you may have in your refrigerator. Take a bite of the slowest-cooking vegetable–you’re done when it’s slightly crunchier than the ideal.
  4. Transfer the noodles from the pot to the wok along with about 1/4 cup of the water. Stir-fry until all the water has evaporated. Add a splash of vinegar and soy sauce, salt, and pepper to taste. Stir-fry for another 5 minutes.

Notes: Before cooking the noodles in water, I heated them with a bit of oil on low heat in a pan for about 5 minutes. The package of my noodles say that they can be completely cooked this way, but I was pretty skeptical so I cooked them in water, then finished stir-frying. If you’re looking for crunchy noodles, add a lot more oil during the second round of stir-frying.

pan-fried-noodles1
The final result!
broccoli with salt
I love salt.

after nomming

What happens when you do it correctly.

Length of procrastination: 15-20 minutes

Ways to prolong procrastination: Grab a bowl of green tea ice cream for dessert. Length of procrastination is directly proportional to the size of your ice cream tub. Gallon tubs work best.

A stroke of genius

1 Mar

We’re all very hungry people, but we don’t always have the time or the ingredients to make exactly what we want. Improvisation is a skill and an art perfected by MacGuyver and utilized by overworked college students too busy (or too lazy) to make the trek out to the neighborhood supermarket. What do you do when you open your refrigerator for a cup of milk and realize that you’d eaten the last of it with cereal last night? Well…

(Green Tea) Tomato Soup

Ingredients
2-3 large tomatoes
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
2 tbsp corn starch
1 tsp dried crushed oregano
dill weed
salt
pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 scoops green tea ice cream*

Bring enough water to submerge all tomatoes to a boil. Put the tomatoes in for about 30 seconds, until the skin starts to wrinkle or split. Take the tomatoes out and peel off the skin, and any stems that are left. Cut the tomato into quarters, and using your fingers, remove the pulp inside along with the seeds, leaving only the flesh.
tomatoesraw

tomatoflesh

Heat the olive oil in a skillet, then stir the tomatoes in the hot oil for about five minutes, until juices start to come out into the pan. Take the skillet off heat and transfer the cooked tomatoes into a blender. Blend at high speed until everything is smooth, and pour it back into the skillet. Add half of the garlic, the oregano, salt and pepper to taste, and simmer for 2 minutes. In a bowl, mix the cornstarch with equal parts water until it is completely dissolved, and add to the tomato puree. Add another cup of water and stir over medium heat for another 2 minutes.

blender

Add the two scoops of green tea ice cream to the pan and stir until completely melted. Pour the soup into a bowl, sprinkle the rest of the garlic and some dill weed to garnish, and serve nom. Makes one large bowl.

greentea

* The green tea ice cream is the result of our lack of ingredients. Perhaps a cup of milk or half a cup of heavy cream would have been more appropriate. However, the green tea ice cream was the only source of dairy in my fridge, and in the end, it added a welcome sweetness that balanced out the tartness tomatoes.

soup

Grilled Cheese and Spinach Sandwiches

4 slices of whole wheat bread
1/2 cup grated cheddar cheese
1/2 cup grated mozzarella cheese
6-7 leaves baby spinach

Arrange two slices of bread on a George Foreman grill. Alternatively, a spatula and a drop of olive oil on a hot skillet works just as well. Layer cheese thickly until slices are completely covered. Top with spinach and cover with the other slice of bread. Grill for three minutes or until you smell the toasty aroma. If using a skillet, flip the sandwiches halfway through. Dip in the tomato soup and enjoy! Makes two sandwiches.

georgeforeman

sandwich

Length of procrastination: 20-30 minutes

Ways to prolong procrastination: Complete a crossword while nomming.

%d bloggers like this: