Monday, January 30, 2012

Southern California Fruit Wrap

Southern California has many appealing attractions. Warm weather and the center of everything interesting, SoCal is the place where it's all at. Hollywood. Universal Studios. Disneyland. Knotts Berry Farm. Warner Brothers Studios. Six Flags Magic Mountain. Sea World. Chinatown. Catalina Islands. Little Tokyo. Beverly Hills. LA and San Diego Zoo. Museums and Beaches as far as the eye can see. Not to mention every game development company based in Cali. (The best part IMO!)

And farms full of delicious, succulent, foods. These fruit wraps are the a pinnacle of everything awesome about Southern California. Juicy, sweet, a little tart and smooth.
They're beautiful too. Perfect colors, all arranged neatly and perfectly visible through the simple rice wraps.

Southern California Fruit Wrap

6 Servings | Total Time: 10 min | Apprentice

  • 6 Rice Papers
  • 1 Medium Banana, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup Pineapple, thinly sliced
  • 3 large Strawberries, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup Spinach, sliced thinly
Craft: Take a rice paper sheet and put it in a shallow dish of warm water. After about 10-20 seconds, depending on temp, it should be soft and pliable. It will be sticky once wet so be careful not to let it touch itself or fold. Carefully take it out and put it on a plate. Place 1/6th of all the fruit and spinach in the center, facing the same direction. Roll up the rice paper burrito style. Repeat for remaining. Let dry on a ceramic or glass plate.

Strategies: Wrap individually in plastic wrap and store in the fridge or eat immediately. You can find rice paper sheets at any oriental market and sometime in the oriental section of your local grocery store.

LFM: Serve as dessert or with a big breakfast.

  • Rice Papers | $1.00
  • Medium Banana | $0.50
  • Pineapple | $1.50
  • Strawberries | $1.50
  • Spinach | $1.00
Total Cost: $5.50
Cost Per Serving: $0.92

Category: Rez Plz, Expansions

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Ghostcrawler Stuffed Wontons

Greg "Ghostcrawler" Street is the lead dev for World of Warcraft. He's prominent depicted by his avatar, a red crab. He has his own 'Dev Watercooler' blog and enjoys speaking about designs and intentions for WoW. Because he's so highly placed and so interactive with the community it brings both good and bad attention to him. He has his fans and his critics. I've been a little of both, I'll freely admit.

GC, as he is known, is in an unenviable position. He likes to interact with the community. Which most would say is a good thing. But that exposes him too. He'll never appease everyone so he'll always have frothing, maddened fans who think he's ruining the game. And he'll also always have 'fanbois' who support him and say he can do no wrong.

As for me, I find myself in-between opinions. I understand that he's just trying to figure out a good, fun, balance for the game and it's classes. But I am certainly irritated that he continues to nerf my favorite class and has turned it into a weak specter of what it once was. I've played a Retribution Paladin since Day 1. Even vanilla paladining wasn't as painful as it's been during the Cataclysm expansion. Though I'd never get into a fight (verbal or otherwise) with GC but it's made me so mad and frustrated that I went crab hunting for a good long while. And you know what I do with excessive amounts of crab meat? Make food!

Ghostcrawler Stuffed Wontons

6 Servings | Total Time: 35 min | Journeyman

  • 30 Wonton Wrappers
  • 4 oz Cream Cheese
  • 1 clove Garlic
  • 1 Green Onion
  • 1 large Celery Stalk
  • 1 medium Carrot
  • 1 can Lump Crab Meat, drained
  • 1 Tbl Canola Oil
  • Kitchen Weapon Proficiency: Food Processor
Craft:Combine all ingredients except wrappers in a large bowl. Place 1 tsp of the mixture inside each wonton wrapper. Use folding instructions on wonton package. Place on an oiled baking sheet, brush with oil and bake for 6-8 minutes or until edges are browned.

Strategies: Try to get as much air out of the wontons as possible while folding but don't fuss if the seams break open a little during baking. You can make a big batch and freeze them before or after baking for fast meals in the future.

LFM: Serve with salad, or chinese style noodles, or fried rice, or roasted vegetables.

  • Wonton Wrappers | $2.50
  • Cream Cheese | $1.25
  • Green Onion | $1.00
  • Celery | $1.25
  • Carrot | $1.00
  • Lump Crab Meat | $2.00
Total Cost: $9.00
Cost Per Serving: $1.50

Category: Casual, Critical Hits

*This meal contains staple items such as spices that you may or may not have in your pantry so your cost may vary.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Shyvana Jumbalaya

I tried to think of a fitting introduction to this fiery, tasty, dish. It's fast and simple but oh-so-tasty. It's got a punch of heat if you want it but it can be as mild as ketchup if you don't. When I sat down to ponder what to call it, my thoughts turned to League of Legends.

I like the game. I don't participate in the PvP since that aspect of any game doesn't appeal to me very much. But I do enjoy the simple Co-op vs. Bots. It fulfills that need for something simple, quick and easy to play. Just like this dish fulfills the occasional need for something simple, quick and filling.

As I started to think about each of my favorite champions, one in particular came to mind. The colors and heat of this dish pointed me at one of the more devastatingly powerful champions. Shyvana, the Half-Dragon.

Her short story intrigues me as much as her abilities and fighting capabilities do. I will willingly admit to being something of a lore junkie. Not quite a nerd. I don't know everything. But I love to learn more and always enjoy a good story. Shyvana's story is one of those that I wish there was more to read. It sounds so fascinating. How does a female dragon come to fall in love with a male human? And then give birth to a forbidden half-dragon child, knowing the consequences would go badly for herself and her lover? It makes a lore-junkie-wannabe-writer's mind turn! Turn I tell you!

Can I also mention that this being a dragon-related post feels highly appropriate for the Chinese New Year? Happy Dragony New Year!

Shyvana Jumbalaya

4 Servings | Total Time: 15 min | Apprentice

  • 1 Tbl Butter
  • 1/2 Onion
  • 1/2 Green Bell Pepper
  • 4 Green Onions
  • 1/2 Kielbasa Sausage
  • 1/2 can Tomato Paste
  • 1/2 can Tomato Sauce
  • 3 tsp Hot Sauce, optional
  • 1/4 tsp Red Pepper Flakes, more if desired, optional
  • 1 tsp Pepper
  • 4 cups Brown Rice, cooked
Craft: Dice onion, bell peppers, green onion and sausage. Melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add sausage and cook until browned. Add onion and bell pepper. Add tomato paste, tomato sauce, hot sauce, red pepper flakes and pepper. Stir until combined. Add rice and green onions. Reduce heat to low, cover and cook, stirring occasionally for 8 minutes.

Strategies: Anytime you cook rice, cook an extra couple cups and refrigerate or freeze it for meals just like this one.

LFM: Serve with salad and fresh fruit.

  • Onion | $0.50
  • Green Bell Pepper | $1.50
  • Green Onions | $1.00
  • Kielbasa Sausage | $2.50
  • Tomato Paste | $0.25
  • Tomato Sauce | $0.25
  • Brown Rice | $0.50
Total Cost: $6.50
Cost Per Serving: $1.63

Category: Casual

*This meal contains staple items such as spices that you may or may not have in your pantry so your cost may vary.

Monday, January 16, 2012

1UP Quesadillas

I got the best Christmas present ever. I know everyone says that but I really did. I also have the best younger sister in the world for giving this present to me. A genuine, original, trusty-but-dusty, Nintendo. Yes, one of these:

I know you're probably thinking that isn't exactly the best Christmas present you've ever seen. But it is for me. So many memories of learning to play my first video games on this baby. Learning cuss words I wasn't supposed to know at 5 years old from my babysitter when she kept trying to shoot that laughing dog on Duck Hunt. Zelda was too expensive but my cousins had it so I got to play that sometimes too.

But most of my time was spent on Super Mario Brothers. My older sister figured out a trick to get infinite lives. I never could do it so I had to depend on collecting those handy green 1 UP mushrooms. So getting my hands on a Nintendo again had me thinking about mushrooms and their many delicious uses. Not to mention health benefits for a longer gaming life of your own!

By the way...I don't recommend collecting green mushrooms to use in this dish. Bella mushrooms will do just fine. These are perfect to have when you want a quesadilla but you're kinda tired of the same ol' same ol' mexican flavors. This is stuffed full of carmalized onions, mushrooms, tangy swiss cheese and the most perfect steak sauce ever created. Your mouth will be watering before they've even finished cooking. I promise!

1UP Quesadillas
4 Servings | Total Time: 20 min | Apprentice

  • 8 Corn Tortillas
  • 10 tsp Butter, unsalted
  • 1 small Onion, diced
  • 1 cup Baby Bella Mushrooms, diced
  • 1 Tbl A1 Steak Sauce
  • 4 Slices Swiss Cheese
Craft: Melt 2 tsp of butter in a sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add onion and cook until carmalized. Add mushrooms and cook until soft. Remove from heat, add A1 sauce and toss to combine. Butter one side of each tortilla. Place, butter side down in a pan over medium-low heat. Add ¼ of the mushroom filling and ¼ of the cheese. Place another tortilla on top, butter side up. Cover and let cook 1-2 minutes until browned on bottom then flip and cook uncovered 1-2 min more. Repeat for remaining tortillas.

Strategies: You can replace the swiss with cheddar if desired. Also, speed things up using a food processor to dice your mushrooms and onions.

LFM: Serve with a green garden salad and apples!

  • Corn Tortillas | $1.00
  • Onion | $1.00
  • Baby Bella Mushrooms | $1.75
  • Sliced Swiss Cheese | $2.25
Total Cost: $6.00
Cost Per Serving: $1.50

Category: Raid Night, Troll Fuel

*This meal contains staple items such as spices that you may or may not have in your pantry so your cost may vary.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Taris Flatbread Pizza

Taris used to be a planet full of cities. Apparently they got on the Empire's bad side and got themselves infested with a plague of Rakghouls. And bombarded to ruins and rubble. The Republic just the left the place alone for a good long while but now it's time to go try and re-inhabit the place. Why? I have no clue. Unfortunately the rakghouls are running wild and so is the plant life. It makes for epic scenery but it's bad for civilization. I couldn't tell you what to do about the rakghouls but I do have some ideas for the plants! Just hang with me for a moment of reflecting ranting.

Did you notice how Taris just goes on and on and on and on! I've never encountered so many quest hubs before Taris and not after Taris either! Don't get me wrong. I like questing. Love it even. But Taris doesn't change much from hub to hub. It's the same thing over and over. Fight the rakghouls, over and over. It just wears on a person! For those of you who are on Taris right now, my sympathies. But take heart, there is an end to the madness.....eventually. And at the end you'll find the bonus quest chain. And then it'll end too. And you'll never have to go back! ....except maybe once or twice for class quests. I'm doing a terrible job of reassuring you aren't I? Moving on!

The abundance of plant life on Taris had me craving some cheese covered veggies. And what better excuse to get it than to put it on a pizza! Pizza is one of those classic foods that crosses over the stereotyping lines. Pizza is a favorite of nerds and jocks alike. No one can resist the call of pizza. The gooey cheese. The crispy crust. The hot, cooked-to-perfection toppings. I've showed you before how to make quick Poor Man's Pizza. But here's another version that takes just a tad longer but keeps truer form to the classic pizza. Except for maybe the toppings because everyone needs variety. And honestly, where are you going to find pepperoni on a force-forsaken planet like Taris?

Taris Flatbread Pizza

8 Servings | Total Time: 15 min | Apprentice

  • 8 Flour Tortillas
  • 4 Tbl Pesto
  • 1 cup Spinach
  • 1 can Great Northern White Beans, rinsed
  • 2 Roma Tomato, finely diced
  • 1 Red Onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 Red Bell Pepper, finely diced
  • 1 cup Broccoli Florets
  • 8 Mushrooms, thinly sliced
  • 1 Zucchini, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup Mozzerella Cheese, shredded
  • 1 cup Feta Cheese
  • 8 Tbl Parmesan Cheese
Craft: Preheat oven to 450° F. Place the tortillas on two greased baking sheets. Spread pesto on each tortilla then layer veggies/beans and top with cheese. Bake for 6-8 minutes or until tortillas are brown and crunchy and cheese is melted.

Strategies: You can slice it pizza style like the picture above or you can fold it in half  and eat it taco style! And if you lack pesto, tomato sauce works just fine.

LFM: This is an all in one meal but I recommend any kind of fruit for dessert!

  • Flour Tortillas | $1.25
  • Spinach | $2.00
  • Great Northern White Beans | $0.50
  • Roma Tomato | $0.75
  • Red Onion | $0.75
  • Red Bell Pepper | $1.50
  • Broccoli Florets | $1.00
  • Mushrooms | $1.00
  • Zucchini | $1.00
  • Mozzerella Cheese | $2.00
  • Feta Cheese | $2.50
Total Cost: $14.25
Cost Per Serving: $1.79

Category: Raid Night, Critical Hits

*This meal contains staple items such as spices that you may or may not have in your pantry so your cost may vary.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Kira Carsen's Chickpea Paddys

SWTOR Knight Spoiler Warning! Proceed directly to recipe and skip the story if you're not level 35 yet and don't want the storyline spoiled for you!

When you first acquire a companion you think, how neat, how handy! Go, my minion and do my bidding and get my slicing up to 400 in the first week and make me lots of credits! But as you get higher level, your companions start to become more involved in your storyline. You find out things about them that you never even suspected. LIKE YOUR PADAWAN IS A FREAKIN' SITH!

Kira Carsen was born sith and ran away. She was caught trying to steal from a Jedi Master who sensed the force in her and decided to train her. Later she becomes your padawan. She was amsuing to me. Snarky but insightful. Always has something to say in battle like "Eat lightsaber, jerk!" Her attitude and take on life actually reminds me of the very few people I know who are vegans. So I thought to myself, what if Kira was a vegetarian and I never knew! What would she eat?

This is my take on a Kira Carsen-esque vegetarian recipe. So in a roundabout way I decided to name these chickpea paddys after my pattywan! (hyuck, hyuck) I didn't intend for it to be vegetarian when I started to make them up but they just turned out that way. This is one of those recipes where I went through my fridge, grabbed random things that needed to be used or sounded good, threw them in the food processor and fried them. They were really delish, especially with ranch dressing for sauce.

Kira Carsen's Chickpea Paddys

4 Servings | Total Time: 15 min | Apprentice

  • 1 can Chickpeas
  • 2 Garlic cloves
  • 1/2 Lemon, peeled, seeded
  • 1/4 Onion
  • 4 Mushrooms
  • 1 cup Spinach
  • 1/4 tsp Oregano
  • 1/4 tsp Thyme
  • 1/4 tsp Basil
  • 1/4 tsp Cumin
  • 3 Eggs
  • 1/2 cup Breadcrumbs
  • 2 Tbl Butter
  • 2 Tbl Ranch Dressing
  • Kitchen Weapon Proficiency: Food Processor
Craft: Add all ingredients except egg, butter, breadcrumbs and ranch to a food processor and pulse until well minced. Transfer the mixture to a bowl, add egg and breadcrumbs then mix well. Melt 1 Tbl of butter in a skillet over medium-high heat. Form patties from the mixture and gently fry until golden brown on each side. Repeat, using more butter to grease the pan as needed. Serve with Ranch Dressing for sauce.

Strategies: Keep a close eye on these so they don't burn and turn them carefully so they don't fall apart.

LFM: Serve with dipping veggies like celery, carrots, tomatoes and bell peppers and extra ranch dressing.

  • Chickpeas | $0.50
  • Mushrooms | $1.00
  • Spinach | $2.00
  • Eggs | $1.50
Total Cost: $5.00
Cost Per Serving: $1.25

Category: Troll Fuel, Raid Night

*This meal contains staple items such as spices that you may or may not have in your pantry so your cost may vary.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Alderaan Appleflax Waffles

Poor Alderaan. Even in the past they can't catch a break. In the future they get blown up by the wanna-be-a-moon Deathstar. In the time frame of ToR Alderaan is literally a warzone. The Sith Empire trying to take it over and the Republic fighting to keep it. Either way, lots of explosives involved. And explosives are only fun for the people lobbing them. Unless you're suicidal like the trooper in the vid. Course it's hard to tell if he's really having fun with that...

Anyway! It occurred to me that peeps on both sides of the conflict could use some cheering up. And what better way to cheer up the blown up than with waffles! Everyone loves waffles. Some people love them more than life itself.

These particular waffles are delectable. Like having apple pie for breakfast. And healthy too! Low sugar, whole wheat and they'll be sure to fill you up for hours and hours. Especially if you keep munching on them like I'm prone to do.

Alderaan Appleflax Waffles

4 Servings | Total Time: 35 min | Journeyman

  • 1 1/4 cup Unbleached All Purpose Flour
  • 1/3 cup Ground Flaxseed
  • 1 1/2 tsp Ground Cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp Ground Nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp Ground Ginger
  • 3 Eggs
  • 1 1/4 cup Milk
  • 1 Tbl Canola Oil
  • 1 cup Apple Pulp (from juicing apples, no seeds/peel/stem) or 2/3 cup Applesauce
Craft: Mix all ingredients together until well combined. Pour 1/3 cup of batter per square onto a greased waffle iron. Cook until well browned. Repeat until batter is gone.

Strategies: Use low sugar or sugar free syrup. Or use fruit as a topping instead of syrup.

LFM: Serve with fruit or fruit juice and bacon or sausage.

  • Unbleached All Purpose Flour | $2.00
  • Ground Flaxseed | $3.00
  • Eggs | $1.00
  • Milk | $2.00
  • Applesauce | $1.25
Total Cost: $9.25
Cost Per Serving: $2.32

Category: Rez Plz

*This meal contains staple items such as spices that you may or may not have in your pantry so your cost may vary.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Greench's Split Pea Soup

The Feast of Winter Veil is over but we have fresh memories of new foes faced to keep us warm throughout the rest of the wintery months. And soup! Yes, after the Greench retreated to the furthermost databanks of the server (he got tired of getting ganked), adventurers discovered he had hidden more than just holiday treats and a lost reindeer in his cave.

There was a large pot of what looked like split pea soup. It was utter delishness! Spotting a cookbook nearby, the adventurers decided to see what was actually in the soup they had eaten. To their surprise, it was full of more than just split peas and ham. Leave it to the Greench to 'ruin' a perfectly good soup by making it healthy! Hmmph!

Greench's Split Pea Soup

8 Servings | Total Time: 45 min | Journeyman

  • 2 cups Dried Split Peas
  • 1/2 cup Dried Lentils
  • 4 cups/1 carton Vegetable Stock
  • 4 Garlic Cloves
  • 1 Large Onion
  • 2 Large Celery Stalks
  • 1 Medium Carrot
  • 1 cup Ham, diced
  • 1/4 Bunch of Asparagus
  • 2 cups Spinach
  • 1/4 cup Parsley, fresh (plus more for garnish)
  • Grated Parmesan Cheese, for garnish
  • Salt & Pepper if desired
  • Kitchen Weapon Proficiency: Food Processor
Craft: Add split peas, lentils and stock to a large pot over medium high heat. Bring to a boil then reduce heat to simmer. Meanwhile, remove the tough ends from the asparagus. Thinly slice so the asparagus pieces are roughly the size of the peas. Add to the pot and stir. Roughly dice onion, celery and carrot. Add to a food processor with garlic cloves and pulse until well minced. Add the vegetables to the pot and stir to combine. Add spinach and parsley to the food processor and pulse until minced. Add to the pot and stir again. Let the soup simmer 30 minutes, stirring occasionally and adding water as needed. Season to taste. Garnish with grated parmesan cheese and parsley sprigs if desired.

Strategies: You hide nearly any vegetable in this soup. Just try to stick with the green colored onces and make sure they're well minced! If you want to add a kick to the soup toss in some hot sauce and/or red pepper flakes. This soup makes a relatively big batch but it also freezes well to make a quick reheat meal when needed.

LFM: Serve with rolls or cornbread.

  • Dried Split Peas | $0.30
  • Dried Lentils | $0.30
  • Vegetable Stock | $2.00
  • Onion | $0.50
  • Celery | $1.00
  • Carrot | $1.00
  • Ham | $2.00
  • Asparagus | $2.50
  • Spinach | $2.00
Total Cost: $11.60
Cost Per Serving: $1.45

Category: Casual

*This meal contains staple items such as spices that you may or may not have in your pantry so your cost may vary.