Thursday, May 31, 2012

Every major's terrible?

The exceptionally clever people at xkcd have done it again. Click the picture to be taken to the comic of a clever little ditty about why every college major is terrible.  Someone has even attempted to sing it.

My major isn't mentioned. Does that mean it isn't terrible or that it's so terrible that it doesn't deserve to me mentioned?  Hmmm....


Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Corn in a toaster oven? Who woulda thunk!

May has been hot in my neck of the woods. There have been a few days where our air conditioner just couldn't keep up, and it's supposed to be over 100 degrees on Thursday. (Ouch!) So, I'm trying to avoid turning on my oven as much as possible. If I use the oven on one of those days where the air conditioner is straining, the house doesn't cool down until well after sunset, and who wants that?

Lucky me, my husband got me a toaster oven for Mother's Day. (Really, it's okay. We've been talking about how much we wanted one for years. I mean, literally, years.) We've had a rough month with illness running its way around our family, so last night was the first time I used it, and I really went all out. No toasted bagels or frozen waffles for me. No, what's the first thing I made in my toaster oven? Roasted corn. And, it turned out great. I am so proud of my little toaster oven.


  1. Soak the corn, in husk, in salt water for several hours. If you can't submerge all the corn, put the end where the silk sticks out on the bottom. I don't know if it actually works, but I imagine that capillary action brings the salt water up into the corn through the silk. Even if it doesn't actually work that way, I've always gotten good results by doing it like that.
  2. Place the rack in your toaster oven on the lowest slot and set your toaster oven to bake at 350 degrees. Take the corn out of the water, and using kitchen shears, snip off the silk hanging from the top and any loose bits of husk or parts that stick out.
  3. Put the corn on a small pan and place on the rack in the toaster oven. Bake for 30 minutes, turning once halfway through.


Thursday, May 17, 2012

Tip: Use Naan as pizza crust

I saw an interesting tip in the Publix ad the other week. Next to the picture of Tandoori Naan on sale was the suggestion to use Naan to make pizza. I thought it sounded like an odd mix of cuisines, but I thought it was worth a try. I bought a package of two of the garlic Naan, as well as some fresh mozzarella and sauce. It was delicious, and they were a good size for individual pizzas.

Photo by MoHotta18
 I've made this twice now, and I have a couple of tips I've learned from the experience. You'll want to use less sauce than a pizza made from dough. The sauce doesn't absorb as much, so the sauce is more likely to form a slick under your cheese. Nobody likes to take a bite of their pizza and have all the cheese slide off. Second, put the Naan directly on the rack in the oven or put it on a cooling rack and put that in the oven for easier removal. If you put it on a cookie sheet, the bottom doesn't crisp up and you end up with a pretty floppy pizza. With the bottom unshielded from the heat of the oven, the bottom crisps up nicely without burning and the crust holds up better to the toppings, which makes the pizza easier to eat.

Naan Pizza

2 pieces of garlic Naan
Pasta or pizza sauce
Fresh mozzarella, shredded
Other toppings of your choice (i.e. red pepper flakes, basil, pepperoni, etc.)

Build your pizza on a peel or cooling rack depending on whether you will cook it on the oven's rack or the cooling rack. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
Add desired toppings to Naans and transfer to the center rack of the oven. Rather than timing the pizza, keep an eye on it, and pull it out when the cheese gets to your preferred point of brown and bubbly. (It's nice that you don't have to make sure the crust is cooked.)

- Katy

Friday, May 4, 2012

Holy Moley, Guacamole!

I saw a recipe in my inbox the other day for "Healthified Guacamole." Curious, I clicked on the email to see what they did to make guacamole healthier. I was thinking it was pretty healthy to begin with. I mean, the avocado is kind of high in fat, but it's all good healthy fat, and there are plenty of nutrients in guacamole as well. Lo, and behold, the recipe I saw before me was simply a standard recipe for guacamole. What kind of guacamole had the writers of this email recipe been eating? (Though I admit, I was glad to see that hadn't done something weird to mess with guacamole. I mean, let's just admit it. A good batch of guacamole is basically perfect food.)
photo by stu_spivack

I love making guacamole at home. It's so hard to find a good store bought guacamole and generally cheaper to make it at home, especially right now when the grocery stores are all having their Cinco de Mayo sales. If you're looking for a good store bought guac, I like Trader Joe's the best and Wholly Guacamole the second best. If you're looking to make your own, read on. My version is adapted off of this Alton Brown recipe. I do a couple of things to it that may make it inauthentic, but I like it, so I don't care.

3 avocados
1 small lemon
1/2 medium red onion, diced
2 plum tomatoes, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 small handful of cilantro, chopped (should come to about 1 T after chopping)
a few jarred jalapeno slices, minced
salt and pepper, to taste

1) Cut the avocados in half and remove the seeds. Cut the avocado in cubes by scoring a grid into the avocado through to the skin and then scoop out with a large spoon. If the avocado is nice and ripe and soft as it should be, your cubes won't be perfect, which is fine. I like to think of the cubes of avocado in my guacamole as the bread cubes in a bread pudding. Some will remain fairly intact and some will break up completely to make a nice balance between creamy and chunky.
2) Dump avocado pieces into a large bowl and squeeze the juice from the lemon onto them and toss to coat.
3) Add the onion, tomatoes, garlic, cilantro and jalapenos, and stir to combine. Season with salt and pepper to taste. If you can wait to eat it, let it sit for about an hour to let the flavors meld.

For variations, you can mash the avocado before adding the rest of the ingredients. You can use a lime instead of a lemon. You can also add some spices such as cayenne, cumin, or chili powder. If you're looking to be more authentic, leave out the jalapenos.