ten-minute stir fry

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ingredients: garlic, sesame oil, soy sauce, cooked rice, brown mushrooms, spinach, eggplant, eggs, sesame seeds, fresh basil, ginger, sea salt, and black pepper.

chop up the garlic and sauté in sesame oil. crack the eggs into the pan (season with salt and pepper) and chop up the mushrooms and eggplant while the garlic and eggs are cooking in the pan. add the mushrooms and eggplant into the pan, then add the cooked riced, and cover in soy sauce (and a little more sesame oil). chop up some ginger and fresh basil, and add into the pan. add the spinach in and watch it shrink down. season with salt and pepper, take off the heat, sprinkle with sesame seeds, and serve.

i’m pretty sure this post took me longer to write up than making this dish for dinner tonight.

kabocha “ravioli” with a hazelnut cream sauce

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ever find a recipe online and think to yourself, “oh nice, that looks awesome and super easy to make” because of how flawlessly it’s presented?

making assumptions is the worst thing you can do in life… especially with recipes like this.

here’s what i learned the hard way:

  • cutting a squash/pumpkin is difficult (although if you pierce it all over with a knife and microwave it for a couple of minutes, it does ease the process).
  • steaming a squash/pumpkin takes way too long and doesn’t really work – you’re better off by just sticking it in the microwave until it becomes soft.
  • little tools like “circle ravioli cutters” are often omitted from the ingredients list of recipes – luckily, resourcefulness with a hint of creativity quickly figured out that a wine glass would achieve the same results.
  • to make ravioli that sticks together, you probably need specific types of pasta sheets, or to make fresh ones from scratch.
  • spring roll wrappers that happened to be sitting in my fridge worked a little better than the pasta sheets that we picked up, but still weren’t the best choice.
  • your “ravioli” will look more like a first-grader’s art project, rather than a martha stuart magazine spread.

although our ravioli was far from aesthetically pleasing, the overall dish still tasted incredible, and we had a ton of fun making it – i don’t think i’ve ever laughed that hard trying to cook pasta before. next time though, i’m definitely making the filling, the sauce, and just piling it all on top of cooked (gluten-free) pasta.

ingredients for the filling: kabocha pumpkin, parmesan cheese, thyme, minced garlic, sea-salt, and pepper.

mix ingredients together – i recommend a potato masher for the job.

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ingredients for the sauce: butter, chopped shallots, minced garlic, thyme, white wine, cream, and crushed hazelnuts.

sauté shallots and garlic in the butter over high-heat for a few minutes. reduce the heat and add the rest of the ingredients in. stir until ready to serve.

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quinoa stuffed acorn squash and eggplant gratin with herbs & crème fraîche

the other night, brandon and i had our first dinner together at home as roommates. brandon is a vegetarian, so i created a new pinterest board filled with various vegetarian recipes to try, which included the quinoa stuffed acorn squash and eggplant gratin with herbs & crème fraîche we made that night.

quinoa stuffed acorn squash

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original recipe found here.

ingredients: quinoa, acorn squash, dried cranberries, fresh chopped basil, chopped onions, minced garlic, chickpeas, red chilli flakes, olive oil, sea-salt, and pepper.

pre-heat oven to 400°. cut saw the squash in half. scoop out the seeds and glaze the inside of the squash-halves with olive oil; sprinkle with salt and pepper, and bake in the oven for around an hour. while the squash is baking, cook the quinoa; add the onions, garlic, chickpeas, and red chilli flakes to the mix once the quinoa is cooked; add the cranberries and basil to it as well. place the mixture back into the squash halves and bake for a bit until it’s done (around 15 – 20 minutes in the oven).

i also made some crispy chickpeas for us to snack on, since i only used around half a can in the mixture for the squash.

at the exact same time, we also made the other dish of the evening:

eggplant gratin with herbs & crème fraîche

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original recipe found here.

ingredients: eggplant, whipping cream, parmesan cheese, chives, sea-salt, pepper, parsley, thyme, garlic salt, and canola oil.

pre-heat oven to 400°. slice eggplant and fry in a pan with canola oil, salt, and pepper until the eggplant is golden on both sides; set aside. place whipping cream in a small saucepan over medium heat and whisk – stir in herbs and parmesan cheese. place eggplant slices in a baking dish, cover each layer with tomato sauce and a sprinkle of garlic salt, and then cover the entire dish with the creme mix and lots of parmesan cheese. bake for around half an hour or until completely done.

making both dishes simultaneously put my multitasking skills to the test, and i was half-worried that one of the dishes might accidentally turn out like rachel’s trifle pie that tasted like feet (friends reference), but the timing worked out perfectly and the dishes were delicious. our dinner went perfectly with the celebratory bottle of white wine i picked up to congratulate brandon for passing his real estate exam.