Edible Erin

Ch-ch-ch-changes June 11, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — edibleerin @ 12:07 am

Today officially marked the end of week two since I graduated from college. Despite the fact that I am now the proud owner of a rolled-up piece of parchment (that’s right, I definitely was not about to pay $1,353,235,132,513 for a sheepskin diploma), not much has changed.  I remain jobless and the pile of stuff I accumulated over the last four years remains in the garage, because my room remains in a terrible state of disarray. No one’s shocked.

There has been at least one big change, though: rather than relying on some combination of Blue Sky, Macado’s, the co-op and myself for all my meals, I now am lucky enough to be a regular patron of Chez Mom.  I would never complain about this–my Mom is a FANTASTIC cook.  But it does mean that Edible Erin has taken a brief hiatus.  Now, lest you think I have not been flexing my culinary thumbs at all, I do still make my own lunches.  (I also make my own breakfasts, but I don’t imagine anyone would be particularly thrilled to hear about Eggo waffles topped with chocolate chips.)  Being a creature of habit, I often go for the classic lunchtime sandwich.  The beauty of the sandwich, of course, is that the possibilities are literally endless.  I like variety as much as anyone, but one incarnation I’ve found myself returning to a few times over the past couple weeks is my take on the fried egg sandwich.   It’s unbelievably easy, but also (I find) quite tasty and satisfying.

I don’t know that such a simple sandwich merits a full-on recipe, but I’ll gladly share how I make it anyway.   First, melt about a tablespoon of margarine/butter/whatever you use in a small frying pan over medium-high heat.  Once hot enough (test by shaking a few droplets of water into the pan; if the droplets skitter, the pan is ready), crack an egg into the pan and puncture the yolk.  While the egg whites are beginning to set, pop your bread into the toaster — I use a whole wheat English muffin instead of bread, because I find it’s a better size for the egg (and it fits with the slightly breakfast-y theme), but whatever works.  Thinly slice about 1/4 of an avocado and set aside (when there’s some in the fridge, I slice up some cucumber, too).  By now, the egg should be fairly set on the bottom; flip it over to allow the other side to cook (this does not take long, so keep an eye on it or you’re going to have one very dry egg).  Top one half of the English muffin with the sliced avocado (and cucumber, if you’re using it); place the egg on top of the avocado. (*Note:  it sometimes helps to slightly press the avocado into the English muffin with a fork, as it can be slippery and slide right off the muffin.)  Top with one slice of provolone cheese and a healthy squirt of Dijon mustard, cover with the other half of the English muffin and enjoy!


Summer squash & chicken penne May 16, 2010

Filed under: Pasta — edibleerin @ 3:22 pm

The in-depth reporting class I’m in this term (only one week left!) makes my schedule more than a little unpredictable…and takes away a lot of my time and energy for cooking.  So even though I bought the squash I used in this recipe almost a week ago, I didn’t get around to putting it in anything until today.  This is somewhat similar to my zucchini pasta recipe of a few weeks ago (I have a thing for zucchini), but I think it’s different enough to merit it’s own post.

Summer squash and chicken penne pasta (makes 2 servings, ~400 calories each…I put one in the fridge to eat tomorrow)


1 small-to-medium zucchini
1 small-to-medium yellow summer squash
3 oz. cooked chicken breast, cubed* (leftover chicken breast works well)
1 c. (or slightly more) dry penne pasta (I use whole wheat)
1 Tblsp. extra virgin olive oil
Various seasonings—I use red pepper flakes, garlic and rosemary, but others would work equally well
1/2 c. part-skim ricotta cheese
Crushed dry basil, to taste

Boil water and cook the pasta according to package directions.  While pasta is cooking, cut the zucchini and squash into quarters (halve them each lengthwise and crosswise).  With the flat edge of the squash/zucchini down on a cutting board, thinly slice into narrow strips (you should end up with a fairly large pile of strips).  In a large saute pan, heat the olive oil and seasonings over medium-low heat; when heated, add the squash and zucchini.  Stir slightly and cover.  In a bowl, fork-whisk the ricotta until fairly smooth, then incorporate the basil.  When zucchini and squash are cooked (the strips will turn translucent and flexible), add the chicken to heat through.  Drain the pasta and spoon into two bowls; divide the ricotta mixture evenly between the bowls of pasta.  Spoon equal amounts of the chicken and squash into each and stir to mix.  Serve warm.

*You can also use raw chicken breast…just cube it and cook it in the olive oil and seasonings before adding the squash.


Grandma’s Fluffy Banana Bread May 10, 2010

Filed under: Baking — edibleerin @ 10:48 pm

I got a little carried away at the grocery store last week—because the bananas looked so good (an unusual situation in Lexington), I bought five.  Turns out, it’s difficult for one person to eat five bananas before they start to go brown.  I debated eating the least-spotty of the bunch for awhile, but then I gave up and did what I always do when faced with bananas the color of dirt: bake banana bread (or in this case, banana muffins).  Of course, there are thousands of banana bread recipes out there.  But my whole life, my mom has used the same recipe, and I can’t convince myself to try anything different.  I’m probably divulging some highly-guarded family secret (the recipe is my mom’s maternal grandmother’s, hence the name), but let’s face it: this banana bread is darn good, and my only readers are in my family anyway. So here it is….

Grandma’s Banana Bread


3 small bananas, mashed (I always just guess on the bananas. This time, I used 2 large bananas)
2 c. flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt (I never bake with salt, but I do understand the value behind it)
1/2 c. canola oil (Grandma used shortening, but either works)
1 c. sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 c. buttermilk
**Mini semi-sweet chocolate chips, if desired

Preheat the oven to 350.  In one bowl, mash bananas.  In another, sift together flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt if you’re using it; set aside.  In a final bowl, beat the canola oil, sugar, eggs, and vanilla. Add the sifted ingredients alternately with the mashed bananas, beating each, until complete.  Add the buttermilk and blend together.  [If using chocolate chips, stir in.]  Pour the batter into two greased & floured 9″ layer cake pans and bake for 30-35 minutes or until golden brown. Bread is done when toothpick inserted in center comes out clean or the bread springs back when you push on it with a finger.  **This recipe can also be used for muffins (it makes 24), but the baking time will decrease so make sure to keep an eye on them.

Note:  My mom often spreads some peanut butter on hers, and I tend to do the same. Trust me, it’s delicious (whipped cream is another good topping, although they’re just as yummy plain).


Hot hot hot May 3, 2010

Filed under: Quick & Easy — edibleerin @ 7:22 pm

The past few days in Lexington have been sweltering.  When I can’t stop sweating, cooking is one of the last things I want to do.  I also crave a lot of Mexican-type food. I’m not really sure why that is, but tonight it led to my making quite possibly one of the easiest dinners ever:

Mexican-ish Taco Wrap


1 whole wheat wrap
Grilled chicken breast, chopped (I used about 1.5 oz., but you can obviously add more if you’re hungrier)
1/4 c. ripe Hass avocado
Fresh lemon juice & ground black pepper to taste
1/4 c. shredded cheese (Cheddar or a Mexican mix would be ideal, but I used mozzarella because it’s what I had on hand)
Salsa, if desired

Mash the avocado with a fork until mushy (but with a few chunks remaining).  Add the lemon juice and pepper (I also sometimes add paprika) and stir to combine.  Spread the avocado in a strip down the middle of the wrap.  Top with the chicken breast and cheese.  Fold the wrap edges over themselves and enjoy!  *I microwaved mine for about 10 seconds because I was at the height of laziness and lethargy, but if you wanted to do it “right” you could heat the wrap (and chicken first) and let the residual heat slightly melt the cheese.


Zucchini pasta April 12, 2010

Filed under: Pasta — edibleerin @ 10:42 pm

This past weekend, I was in DC for the Cherry Blossom Run.  It was fantastic–not only did I get to run (very slowly) by the Washington Monument and WWII  Memorial, but I also got to eat some delicious pizza made by my boyfriend’s dad and go to one of my favorite places…Trader Joe’s!  Unfortunately, it wasn’t until I got home last night all ready to eat one of my delectable purchases that I remembered I bought eggplant and zucchini a few days before heading to DC.  Since I’m leaving Thursday morning for spring break on the sunny beaches of Florida, I knew I had to use up the produce before it went bad.  Last night, that meant cooking up some eggplant with a bit of olive oil and topping it with spaghetti sauce and cheese.  Tasty, but not nearly exciting enough to write about.

I spent the vast majority of today writing my last paper for my literary theory class, so I wanted to find a way to use up my zucchini without taking up too much time.  I remembered seeing a recipe for vegetable ribbon pasta on foodnetwork.com awhile ago, so I decided to do my own zucchini-only version.  Again, nothing terribly exciting, but it still came out pretty well.

Zucchini pasta (makes 2 servings, about 350 calories each)


2 small-to-medium zucchini
4 oz. whole wheat spaghetti
1.5 Tblsp extra virgin olive oil
garlic, red pepper flakes, parsely, basil (I used dry, chopped herbs, but fresh would obviously work well)
1/2 c. shredded mozzarella cheese (could also use parmesan or other)

Boil water and cook the spaghetti according to package directions (or until it’s as tender as you like it).  Meanwhile, wash zucchini and cut off ends.  Cut in half lengthwise, then slice into very thin strips.  Cut any long strips again so they’re all about half the length of the original zucchini.  When pasta is cooked, drain and leave in colander.  Using the same pot as for the pasta, add olive oil and seasonings and cook over medium-high heat until fragrant.  Add zucchini and stir, adding about 1/4 c. of water.  When the zucchini is tender and most of the water is evaporated/soaked in, add the spaghetti back into the pan and stir.  Divide into 2 servings and add 1/4 c. of cheese to each, stir to mix in and melt a bit (I immediately reserved one serving to put in the fridge for tomorrow, so I didn’t add the cheese to that serving). Enjoy!


Flatbread/Wrap pizza April 5, 2010

Filed under: Quick & Easy — edibleerin @ 9:58 pm

Now that I’ve recovered from my food hangover and sworn off Smartfood popcorn for at least another week, I’ve been able to get back to eating normally.  And since this is the last week of the term, and somehow it worked out that most of my big papers and work were already due, I actually have a bit of time to cook.

It’s been pretty hot in Lexington lately–80s today, 90 for the next two days.  I don’t know about everyone else, but when it’s hot out I usually prefer easy meals that are on the lighter side.  It also helps if they don’t take much time, which is why tonight I went for one of my standby favorites.  I can’t take full credit for this, because I first started making it two summers ago when my mom and I were doing Prevention magazine’s Flat Belly Diet. I think the diet book had the basic recipe and my mom modified it (as she does with every recipe).  But my memory isn’t exact, so this version is a combination of the original and what I’ve settled on based on what I usually have in my fridge. It takes about 5 minutes to prepare and 5 minutes to cook, which makes it an ideal dinner for those nights when you lose track of time and wind up starving at 9 p.m.

Hawaiian Flatbread/Wrap Pizza


1 whole wheat wrap or flatbread (I use one that’s about 9″x6″ and 90 calories, but whatever works)
1/2 Tblsp extra virgin olive oil
Tomato sauce to preference (I use Trader Joe’s organic mushroom, maybe 1/8 cup, but usually just eyeball a thin covering)
Baby spinach leaves
2 slices deli ham*
1/4 c. cubed pineapple*
1/4 c. shredded 2% mozzarella cheese

Heat the oven to 425 (this is an estimate–the oven in my house at school heats much higher than it should, so I don’t actually know the temperatures for anything). Place the wrap or flatbread on a baking sheet and brush on the olive oil, focusing on the edges of the wrap. Spread the tomato sauce evenly over the wrap, leaving about an inch free on the edges.  Spread a thin layer of spinach on top of the sauce.  Slice the ham into pieces about an inch square and place them on top of the spinach.  Top with the pineapple chunks and cheese.  Cook in the oven until the cheese is melted and the wrap has browned and crisped up a bit.  This takes about 5 minutes in my oven, but just keep an eye on it. I would post a picture of what this should look like, but unfortunately my hunger outweighed my desire to go get my camera before devouring it.

*Obviously this can be modified to include whatever ingredients you have on hand–sliced red peppers, chicken, onion…


Off to a rough start… April 3, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — edibleerin @ 3:18 am

How appropriate that I’m writing my first post while lying in bed, recovering from a night of terrible food choices.  When I started this blog, I did not intend to write about my gross overconsumption of Smartfood popcorn, puffy Cheetos, various fun size Easter candies, funnel cake, and french fries. Of course, I didn’t intend to eat any of that either, so how could I have known?

Last night was the Relay for Life here at my school, and my team collectively decided that we needed a lot of sustenance to get us through the night.  Now, I have had a very sad addiction to Smartfood popcorn since I was in 2nd grade and used to bring quarters out of my piggy bank so I could get little bags of it at lunch. Now that I’m older, I just try not to buy it.  But last night was an unusual occasion, and so I saw nothing wrong with our decision to have three big bags of Smartfood there at the Relay with us.  Clearly a bad idea.  Between that and the rest of the food, even the roughly eight or so (give or take any number, I lost all sense of time and distance) miles we walked around the lacrosse field weren’t enough to get rid of the enormous brick now sitting in my stomach.  I feel like I have a terrible hangover, but I didn’t have a single drop of alcohol.  Alas.

Anyway, a very anticlimactic first post.  I promise I’ll write again soon with something related to actually good food!