December 17, 2013

Savory breakfast, baking repairs, spicy noodles and other miscellaneous bites


This might not look like breakfast to you, and most days it doesn't to me, either, but sometimes I crave a hearty, savory breakfast. This was a breakfast of opportunity, since the Brussels sprouts, chopped tomatoes and quinoa were leftovers just waiting in the fridge, and all I had to do was open a can of beans, scoop some olives from a jar and warm the whole thing up.


While preparing to make a pie for this past Thanksgiving, I dragged out all my pie plates to find the correct size for the pie in question. I must not have been paying attention to what I was doing because after making the crust and pre-baking it, I discovered I'd used the wrong plate, and the crust was too small. Undaunted (well, maybe a little daunted) I made another crust in the larger pie plate, and covered and popped the too-small one into the freezer to save for a future pie.

Upon eating the pie on Thanksgiving, I discovered the crust was not too great. I'd followed a recipe I'd never used before, mainly involving oats, almonds and dates, and the resulting crust was too hard and too heavy. Seriously, it was almost impossible to pry it out of the pie plate. The too-small crust stayed in the freezer, unwanted and unloved. This past weekend we needed freezer space, and the pie crust got evicted. I hate wasting food, and I thought about the cake ball save from not long ago, wondering if pie crust balls were an option. Instead of balls, though, I made bars. First I pried the evil crust out of the pan, broke it up and ground it to a coarse flour in the food processor. I added a little sugar, a little Earth Balance, vanilla and enough non-dairy milk to achieve a cookie-dough-like texture. I pressed it into a square baking dish, added a layer of chocolate chips and baked it for 20 minutes. When I pulled it out of the oven, I used a spreader to smooth the chocolate topping. Cooled and cut into bars, the recycled pie crust tastes pretty good, with a texture kind of like blondies. I wouldn't make them on purpose, but I'm happy to eat them now that they're here — not too sweet, with a nice textural contrast between the fudgy-cakey bottom and the hard chocolate top.


I wanted mung threads with a spicy red sauce. I wanted tofu, broccoli and mushrooms, and I wanted it to taste like something from our favorite local Thai restaurant. It's much more fun for me to cook if I don't have a recipe — just a taste in mind. I started with a small amount of leftover tomato sauce and just kept adding stuff (rice vinegar, sweetener, tamari, water, spices — you know. I dry fried the tofu in a wok, then stir-fried the veggies with a little oil. It turned out exactly as I hoped it would.


It also was perfect heated up the next day for lunch, with a little extra sauce added.

Do you prefer to cook from recipes or from intuition? I do both.


 The reason we had leftover tomato sauce was because my husband made spaghetti squash and served it with a traditional red sauce. Spaghetti squash tastes so good to me — I like it better than regular winter squash, though for some reason we hardly ever think to make it. It was a very simple supper  — baked squash, baked tofu, steamed broccolette — but it really hit the spot. Have you tried spaghetti squash?


We've been watching the modern incarnation of Doctor Who, and I have to admit, we're hooked. I have Cadry to thank for this obsession. We have to watch at least one episode most nights, and I'd been thinking when we've finished all the episodes, we'd go back and watch the classic series. I was dismayed to discover there are 26 seasons of the original Doctor, and that seems too daunting. Twenty-six years is an awfully long time. Have any of you watched all of the the original episodes?

32 comments:

  1. Yay! My work here is done!! I'm so glad that you're enjoying Doctor Who. I have watched several stories in the original series. David has seen all of the episodes that are available, and we'll occasionally watch some of the old stories together.

    My favorite Doctor of the original series is Patrick Troughton. It's clear that Matt Smith, the current Doctor, uses a lot of Troughton's mannerisms and temperament as inspiration in his performance. If you were interested, I'm sure David would be delighted to point you in the direction of which stories to watch first in the original series. That's the kind of thing that he loves. :)

    Your Brussels sprouts dish looks very much like one of my breakfasts. I'm all over leftovers for breakfast, especially this time of year when something warm sounds best. I like that all of the hard work is already done.

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    1. We're still watching season three so we have a ways to go before we venture into the original series, but we may want some recommendations in the 'future'.

      I'm torn about the leftovers because sometimes I want to save them for lunch! Today there were leftovers from two dinners so I could have breakfast AND lunch. Yay.

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  2. Andrea, everything about this post got me saying, "I KNOW!" (in my head anyway, lol) Leftovers for breakfast, not wanting to waste a wonderful blunder; I literally just finished a bowl of spicy noodles (rice noodles, wakame, carrots, shiitake, sesame seeds, almond slivers, and a spicy sesame dressing that I just whipped up), I LOVE spaghetti squash! My favorite way is to cut it in half and bake it with maple syrup, butter, ginger, garlic, salt, and whatever else sounds right. Also, I'm like you in that I like using recipes just as much as not using them. I feel like I learn from recipes, even really common and simple ones, and they give me ideas I would have never thought of before. Alas, I guess I have to admit I haven't gotten into Dr. Who lol

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    1. Your spicy noodles sound delicious — perfect for any time of day. I'm a bigger fan of savory than sweet so I haven't ever baked spaghetti squash with maple syrup, but it sounds pretty good! I totally agree with you about recipes.

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  3. I have never seen a single episode of Dr Who! It does seem a bit daunting. Your left over breakfast looks pretty fantastic, I'm a huge fan of left overs for breakfast. I also loooooove spaghetti squash, I'm still fascinated every time a bake it and then scrape it into stringy noodles! Sometimes simple is the best kind of dinner!

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    1. The newer version of Doctor Who is only about seven seasons, so doable. The original might be too big an undertaking.

      Those squash noodles never fail to amaze me. What a cool vegetable!

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  4. Why have I never thought to combine brussels and olives? You're a genius! It looks so delicious. And I love spaghetti squash -- thanks for the reminder to pick some up!

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    1. I add olives to everything — breakfast, lunch or dinner. Sometimes for breakfast I have polenta with raisins and olives.

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  5. Great post! That breakfast looks incredible to me (as do most things that include brussels sprouts!). I don't know why I don't do savory breakfasts more often.

    Also, loving the line "I wouldn't make them on purpose, but..." I've been there so many times!

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    1. Roasted Brussels sprouts are my favorites — can't get enough. I do make those on purpose! :)

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  6. Most mornings I have a savory breakfast. Leftovers are always good and easy. The easy being a key component. :-) Nice save on the pie crust! I've heard a lot about Dr Who but I've yet to watch the show...

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    1. I was really disappointed with the pie crust, so I'm glad the remake turned out well! I hate to waste ingredients — especially expensive ones.

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  7. I love spaghetti squash, but always think it's tasty enough on it's own; you didn't find it too sweet paired with the tomato sauce?

    I can never cook to taste, only via recipes. I've been eating healthy bowls of late and really loading on the hot sauce in lieu of anything that requires any actual know-how. It's fine; I have an assortment of hot sauce, so there's one for every occasion.

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    1. I thought the squash tasted great with the tomato sauce, not too sweet at all. I think it would also be good with a touch of tamari and a lot of grated ginger. I love food in bowls with just about any sauce.

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  8. That tofu dish looks delicious, and I love how you "saved" the tiny crust by making it into bars!

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    1. Thank you! I was relieved that the bars tasted good. :)

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  9. Oh YUM! Total YUM! Great blog you have here! Wonderful photos and food!

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  10. Awesome save! You were smarter and more practical than I would have been. I would have melted the chocolate in a bowl, and then spread it on top of the bar. That would have left me with a dirty bowl and it would have been a tedious task. I'll keep in mind the oven trick for next time I need to make something similar. Genius!

    Your Intuition Noodle Bowl looks delicious. Sometimes recipes just get in the way!

    I've been watching the new Dr. Who too! I had actually tried it before (last year, maybe a couple of years ago) but I did not like it then. I tried it again recently and now I am already on season three and loving it! Second chances! :)

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    1. Does "smarter and more practical mean "lazy"? When the chips come out of the oven they look whole and unchanged except they are shiny. They melt but hold their shape, and can easily be spread into icing. This works on cupcakes, too.

      I think it takes a few episodes to get into Doctor Who, but then there's no escape. We're on season 3, too.

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  11. I am a huge fan of the Dr. Who reboot and ashamed to admit that I don't think I've watched an entire episode of the classic series at all!

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    1. Cadry said her husband would be happy to recommend some classic episodes that are worth watching. Maybe we can take him up on that and generate a list. There's no way I can get involved in watching a series with 26 years of episodes — maybe just a few.

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    2. All right - Cadry sent up the Bat Signal, or whatever the Doctor who equivalent of the Bat Signal would be (The TARDIS Signal? The Bow Tie Signal?), so here I am! I can provide a few recommendations for where to start on the classic Doctor Who series. The good news is, the original series is much less story arc-heavy than the current series, so you don't need to watch the whole thing from the beginning. (Which is especially good, as almost 100 episodes from the B&W years do not exist anymore - long story.) I would recommend trying out a few stories from different Doctors, and if you find yourself really liking one of them, maybe tackle that Doctor's episodes from the start. Here are a few jumping on points:

      "The Five Doctors" is a great place to start. It is the show's 20th anniversary special, and brings together the first five doctors into one adventure. If you liked the Tennant/Smith interactions in "Day of the Doctor", this should hopefully appeal in a similar way. It gives you a sampler pack of several Doctors to see if you dig them, and also features a number of other elements you will recognize from the new series, such as Sarah Jane Smith, K9, Daleks, Cybermen, and Time Lords.

      The 4th Doctor, Tom Baker, is one of the most popular. If you like the more humorous stories from the new series, you might want to try "City of Death". It is written by Douglas Adams (of "Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy" fame), and is a twisty, time travel story shot on location in Paris. It also guest stars Julian Glover as the villain, an actor who has played villains in everything from James Bond to Star Wars to Indiana Jones to Game of Thrones.

      Another good Tom Baker story is "Genesis of the Daleks", in which the Time Lords send the Doctor back in time to the birth of the Daleks, in order to try and stop them from being created. Sarah Jane is also the companion in this one, if you like her.

      As Cadry said above, the Second Doctor Patrick Troughton is marvelous, and a clear influence on Matt Smith's interpretation of the role. A lof of his episodes are lost, but the BBC recently found two stories in Nigeria collecting dust at an old TV station, cleaned them up, and released them to download on iTunes. These two consecutive stories, "The Enemy of the World" and "The Web of Fear" are great examples of Troughton at his best, and a good place to start if you want to sample the B&W episodes from the 60s.

      I hope this helps - good luck, and happy Who-ing! :)
      -David

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    3. Wow. Thank you, David! I took a short break from Doctor #10 to watch a couple of Tom Baker episodes, and really enjoyed them. I wasn't as fond of his companion as I was of him, but it does take a little time to get used to a new companion. I've found loyalty is an issue with Doctor Who! We're about to lose David Tennant and start with Matt Smith, and I just hope it's not too painful. I've grown quite fond of the 10th Doctor.

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  12. The Brussels bowl looks great. I don't really have a problem with savory bowls in the morning, I just never think to do it. And most of my leftovers are relegated for lunch.
    Thanks for the reminder on those mung bean noodles; I really like them.
    As for intuitive food, I have a handful of things I make on my own but I enjoy cooking from recipes for the challenge they provide and the food and flavor pairings I'd never come up with on my own... I don't even really use many spices in my food (maybe curry) without cookbook prompting! I never know what will go with what.

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    1. Yeah, I'll eat just about anything in the morning as long as it doesn't take too much effort, which is why leftovers work so well. Or cereal. Recipes do encourage us to try new things, and I like that. Most of my spices just sit in the drawer unless a recipe says to use them.

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  13. Oh man I really want that bowl of mung noodles for dinner right now. At least I do have Brussels sprouts so that picture of yours isn't driving me crazy! Great save with the pie crust. I don't trust 'pie crusts' like that, but at least you salvaged it and made something great!

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    1. My pie crusts have been pretty successful lately so I was surprised that this one was so ...ahem...unexpected. Half the time I make them up on the fly and I used a recipe this time so go figure.

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  14. Your colorfully hearty breakfast looks superyumfully filling. I must try this! I often try to cook from intuition but end up learning from many many mistakes that way. I suppose that's a good thing. My dad always said be fearless in the kitchen so I'm a messy little daredevil. ;)
    Happy Holidays Andrea...cheers!

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    1. I like the mad scientist approach to cooking combined with the painterly approach — a little bit of this a little bit of that, some of this color, some of that.

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  15. I love hearty, savory breakfast. I’m not a huge fan of sweet breakfast. When it comes to ordering food, it’s always savory breakfast: potatoes, tofu scramble, baked beans, cheesy stuff, etc. Sorry to hear about the crust, I don’t like hard and filling crust either, but these blondies look and turn out great with the “crust.” Spicy mung bean noodles sound tasty with these toppings, yummmmm! I only watched a few seasons of Doctor Who, but never the original episodes…this will take time to find them!

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    1. I love potatoes for breakfast — savory is my favorite, too, though I also like waffles and pancakes!

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