Sunday, July 27, 2014

Eid Mubarak!

I looked at my blog the other day and I realized that perhaps I have been neglecting this space. The truth is that the last week has been a surreal moment of happiness and introspection. As you may know, Ramadan has been on the final lap.

Monday, July 21, 2014

My Zucchini Affair

An assembled zucchini tart, pesto and feta cheese
Zucchini Tart
When I was in college, I remember telling my stepmom that I wanted to go study abroad. I remember her cheekily telling me, "But you are already studying abroad." Eventually, she and my dad agreed to let me spend a summer at Sussex University in England. England was always the dream. It was the place people talked about in posh tones. When people talked about traveling when I was growing up in Lagos, London was synonymous with foreign travels. I always wanted to see London. When I finally started traveling, I ended up in America so London was still a dream.When I finally landed in the Queen's own country, I knew not a  soul there. I followed instructions sent by the university and made my way to Brighton from Gatwick airport.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Lemon Basil Brew

Chopped whole lemon and basil in a jar with simple syrup on a white chopping board
Lemon Basil
I can't remember if I have talked about this here but I don't drink. Okay! I actually do drink water and such. I guess a better way to frame this is "I don't drink alcohol." Never have, never will. For some people that is so hard to fathom. And just to avoid confusion, "No, I did not grow up in a household with an alcoholic." Some people will point out that it has something to do with being Muslim. Yes, it does but it goes beyond being a Muslim. I generally find that I don't like anything that will alter my body and mind. And no, just a little alcohol is also still going to alter your brain's processes. There is no such thing as being sober with just a little alcohol. So, alcohol for me is scary.

Chipotle Potato Salad

Potato salad made with new potatoes, mayonnaise, peas, chipotle sauce, peas and cherry tomatoes topped with orange-chipotle chicken breast on a bed of quick pickled cabbage
Chipotle Potato Salad
The problem with cooking for one person is the leftovers. Especially for someone who loves cooking, leftovers are the things that keep me eating the same thing over and over again. Leftovers are the blocks that stop me from creatively expressing myself in the kitchen.

As anticipated, on the night I made the lovely fried chicken sandwich, I had leftovers for some of my key items like the cabbage, homemade mayonnaise and the chipotle sauce. It was very important for me to use up the mayonnaise quickly because it had raw egg in it and therefore would not stay edible for a long time.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

How to Survive Summer Grill Season...

I was totally going to put up a very non-summer recipe today. However, I opened up the NYTimes and noticed that they have just released a summer cooking guide. I find the guide to be very simple but straight forward so I thought I would share. Also there is a recipe for corn soup using buttermilk that I feel was destined to be cooked by me. I still have excess buttermilk in my fridge from making fried chicken. The corn-buttermilk soup is now another option to consider. Check out the article here. Have a happy summer grilling!

Monday, July 14, 2014

Roasted Strawberry Basil Tea Cordial

A hulled strawberry holding basil flowers and leaves

A couple of weeks ago I posted up one of those listicles of recipes that always makes me salivate for food. This particular list was for strawberries. I remember reading the article and thinking to myself that I ought to make the roasted strawberry tea. Well, I did it. I made a version of the strawberry tea.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Flowering Basil

Basil Pesto with parmesan or parmiggiano reggiano, garlic, olive oil, garlic and pinenuts
Fresh Pesto
Something amazing happened at the beginning of the weekend. I got about 2 pounds of basil unexpectedly. The basil was so fragrant. It surprised and inspired me. There are a bunch of recipes coming up soon that highlights the fragrant nature of really fresh and seasonal basil. Until then, enjoy some of the fun that I had making pesto.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Seeking Buttermilk Dessert Recipes

I was going to post a recipe today. Since I am too tired to do that, I thought I should share one of the inspirations I am considering. I subscribe to Bon Appetit so when I was looking for recipes to finish up the buttermilk I bought to make fried chicken, I turned to the website. I found this article from earlier this year that had all kinds of dessert recipes for the buttermilk and it got me excited. Now, I am thinking maybe I should do two recipes from the list since I have about 2 cups of buttermilk in my fridge. I definitely love the idea of a pecan fudge because I love pecan pie. Also, I have never made candy before. The other recipe I am considering is the chocolate coconut cake. I might rework that as a banana chocolate cake though.

Check out the recipes and let me know what you think. Better yet, do you have a recipe for buttermilk to share?

Friday, July 11, 2014

A Food Garden

Picking raspberries.
One of my friends is house sitting for a couple weeks. She had mentioned constantly that she thought it would be good for me to visit the house. I was not so sure especially because it is Ramadan and I crave the comfort of my house and bed. However, in the name of friendship, I packed my bag before work yesterday and went to visit for the night. I got in so late but I was still in awe when I arrived by the bits of the garden I could see in the twilight. This morning when I woke up, I was stunned. It is so pretty. I took a bunch pictures because it is not just a flower garden but a mixed with food plants as well. I really hope one day I am able to create something like this for myself.

The view standing on the patio looking into the yard
The cherry tree has a radio playing to scare away birds.
Onions growing alongside dills
Squash flowers blossoming 
I love this flowery path

There were so many ripe raspberries hiding under the leaves

A cluster of lettuce

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Pineapple Blueberry Syrup

Pineapple Blueberry Drink

Forgive the picture...there was no where else in the kitchen to take a quick picture that had enough light. This was drink was assembled in haste because I knew I had a longer recipe to execute. This is a pineapple blueberry drink. I have had a mason jar filled with pineapple syrup so I knew I had a fragrant base that could handle pretty much anything like blueberries. A quick crushing of the blueberries followed by pouring in the pineapple syrup made the flavoring for the drink that was later topped up with water.

Pineapple Blueberry Drink

1/2 Cup Blueberries
1/4 Pineapple Syrup

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Spicy Chipotle Fried Chicken Sandwich

bread, tomato, lemon, chipotle pepper and Bon Appetit magazine in place for cooking
Getting ready for the chicken sandwich!
Something that I have come to realize is that good food is not a measure of fancy techniques or fancy ingredients. A simple meal such as a Chicken Sandwich can be the best meal ever if all elements of the meal are made fresh and made with care. It is with this thought in mind that I set off on my chicken sandwich odyssey this past Tuesday night. The whole idea of making fried chicken has been on my mind ever since I got the June issue of Bon Appetit and read the story on Nashville's Hot Fried Chicken. The idea of eating spicy chicken stayed with me for over a month. In that month, I also picked up the June/July issue of Saveur and I was faced with a story on the Nashville Fried Chicken phenomenon again.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

My Mom's One Pot Beans Casserole

One Pot Beans Casserole
One Pot Beans Casserole
I was tempted to put off writing today because I am so tired from cooking. However, the recipe for today is in honor of my mom, whose birthday is today. It is a recipe for One Pot Beans Casserole, an adaptation of the way my mom made beans while I was growing up in Lagos. When I was child, I actually hated beans. I made myself so sick that my mom gave up and I did not have to eat beans. This
is quite funny to me now because beans is one food that I adore and I try to work into my diet often.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Orange Chipotle Chicken Part Deux

Orange Chipotle Chicken on Noodles
Orange Chipotle Chicken on Noodles
Today was one of those days when all I dreamt about at work was food. I knew exactly what I wanted for dinner. There is this recipe on my old blog for Orange-Chipotle Wings that I absolutely was craving. The fortunate thing about this recipe is that it is well suited for cooking frozen chicken breast since I had not planned this meal earlier. I pretty much followed the recipe because I was cooking about a pound of chicken breast. The only different is that my cooking time was doubled because the chicken was frozen.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Nigerian Hibiscus Tea

Cold-brewed Hibiscus Tea with Ginger Slices in a mason jar
Cold-brewed Hibiscus Tea with Ginger Slices
One of the things that I know for sure is that living outside of Nigeria has made me more Nigerian. I get to appreciate the cultural heritage more because I have access to more information more. I get to appreciate the food more because I miss the distinctively Nigerian way of cooking and eating foods. I also get to discover random things escaped my consciousness while I lived in Nigeria.

A couple of months back, I was on Instagram when I saw this post on Nigerian tiger prawns. It was the first time I ever knew that seafood from Nigeria is a thing. I grew up in Lagos and one of the perks of all that water is that I have pretty much been eating fish my whole life. When I was a child, if I ever got sick or my sister got sick, my mum would make us fresh fish soup. This was considered a delicacy because it used mostly catfish that would be freshly killed. The sad part of this is that I most likely would not have the appetite to enjoy the fish.

Saturday, July 5, 2014

A Beautiful Mess

lamb, rosemary, flat-leaf parsley, red pepper flakes, garlic
Rack of Lamb
One of the reasons why I cook more often than I bake is that I have no patience. Actually, maybe it is not patience. I just can't be bothered with recipes. Really can't be bothered. My relationship with food has always been instinctual. I look at food and I cook what comes out of me. I have been lucky that more often than not, the food is edible. Tonight though was a bust.

The Single Woman's Leftover Dilemma

Zucchini stuffed with leftover mushroom mince on a baking tray
Stuffed Zucchini
One of the things that always happens to me is leftovers. This is no surprise because cooking for one is a delicate walk between not wanting to cook at all and eating out or cooking and having to eat the same thing over and over again. The thing with me is that I don't mind eating the same thing over and over again. The repetitive eating is actually one of my coping mechanisms for singledom. I make one pot of food and I eat it for lunch over the week. Sometimes, I do that for dinner as well.

However since Ramadan started and I am only eating twice a day, I really feel like I ought savor the food I am eating. So I have taken to cooking every night. My Suhoor meal is pretty much the same thing each time because I treat is as a functional meal. For Suhoor or the pre-dawn meal, I eat overnight soaked oats. By the time Ramadan is done, I will be glad to go back to my smoothies and breakfast pizzas.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Haymarket Mushroom Dream

button mushroom, shiitake mushrooms, radishes and trumpet mushrooms on a white board

Last weekend, one of my friends, decided that we should go to Haymarket Farmers' Market in Boston. Haymarket is not really a traditional farmers' market because the food there is not artisanal and sellers are not farmers. What makes Haymarket special is the abundance of fruits and vegetables for cheap, really really cheap. One has to be careful though to ensure that they are getting good items because the items there are not exactly known for being fresh. My number one Haymarket rule is not to buy anything in bulk. If I can't cook it over the next couple of days, I won't buy it from Haymarket.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Watermelon Lemonade

Watermelon Lemonade
Watermelon Lemonade
One of the things that I really enjoyed when I went to Mumbai with my mom was the drink culture. Every time we went to a restaurant, they would serve us a new drink known as a 'Welcome Drink'. These drinks apparently were most from cordials but each drink was different from the last and the next. As someone who abstains from alcohol, I really appreciated the creativity that went into creating these non-alcoholic options. I also enjoyed the variety offered.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Ramadan: Three Days In

As I sit here to type up this post, I am already in my PJs and partly nodding off with an overstuffed belly. It is the end of Day 3 of Ramadan and I am still getting into some sort of rhythm. One of the things that I have been thinking of all day is what a huge change in lifestyle that I am going through with Ramadan. I feel like when we talk about Ramadan, the focus is so much on the fast and the lack of food or water. There is more to Ramadan than not eating.