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Savory breakfast, baking repairs, spicy noodles and other miscellaneous bites

Posted Dec 17 2013 8:45pm

This might not look like breakfast to you, and most days it doesn't to me, either, but sometimes I crave a hearty, savory breakfast. This was a breakfast of opportunity, since the Brussels sprouts, chopped tomatoes and quinoa were leftovers just waiting in the fridge, and all I had to do was open a can of beans, scoop some olives from a jar and warm the whole thing up.

While preparing to make a pie for this past Thanksgiving, I dragged out all my pie plates to find the correct size for the pie in question. I must not have been paying attention to what I was doing because after making the crust and pre-baking it, I discovered I'd used the wrong plate, and the crust was too small. Undaunted (well, maybe a little daunted) I made another crust in the larger pie plate, and covered and popped the too-small one into the freezer to save for a future pie.

Upon eating the pie on Thanksgiving, I discovered the crust was not too great. I'd followed a recipe I'd never used before, mainly involving oats, almonds and dates, and the resulting crust was too hard and too heavy. Seriously, it was almost impossible to pry it out of the pie plate. The too-small crust stayed in the freezer, unwanted and unloved. This past weekend we needed freezer space, and the pie crust got evicted. I hate wasting food, and I thought about the cake ball save from not long ago, wondering if pie crust balls were an option. Instead of balls, though, I made bars. First I pried the evil crust out of the pan, broke it up and ground it to a coarse flour in the food processor. I added a little sugar, a little Earth Balance, vanilla and enough non-dairy milk to achieve a cookie-dough-like texture. I pressed it into a square baking dish, added a layer of chocolate chips and baked it for 20 minutes. When I pulled it out of the oven, I used a spreader to smooth the chocolate topping. Cooled and cut into bars, the recycled pie crust tastes pretty good, with a texture kind of like blondies. I wouldn't make them on purpose, but I'm happy to eat them now that they're here — not too sweet, with a nice textural contrast between the fudgy-cakey bottom and the hard chocolate top.

I wanted mung threads with a spicy red sauce. I wanted tofu, broccoli and mushrooms, and I wanted it to taste like something from our favorite local Thai restaurant. It's much more fun for me to cook if I don't have a recipe — just a taste in mind. I started with a small amount of leftover tomato sauce and just kept adding stuff (rice vinegar, sweetener, tamari, water, spices — you know. I dry fried the tofu in a wok, then stir-fried the veggies with a little oil. It turned out exactly as I hoped it would.

It also was perfect heated up the next day for lunch, with a little extra sauce added.

Do you prefer to cook from recipes or from intuition? I do both.

 The reason we had leftover tomato sauce was because my husband made spaghetti squash and served it with a traditional red sauce. Spaghetti squash tastes so good to me — I like it better than regular winter squash, though for some reason we hardly ever think to make it. It was a very simple supper  — baked squash, baked tofu, steamed broccolette — but it really hit the spot. Have you tried spaghetti squash?

We've been watching the modern incarnation of Doctor Who, and I have to admit, we're hooked. I have Cadry to thank for this obsession. We have to watch at least one episode most nights, and I'd been thinking when we've finished all the episodes, we'd go back and watch the classic series. I was dismayed to discover there are 26 seasons of the original Doctor, and that seems too daunting. Have any of you watched all of the the original episodes?
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