An Exercise In Trivial Pursuits

Fatshion, Food & Frivolities – Life in Las Vegas & Singapore


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Meatless Monday: Veggie Burger

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Here’s something I made from scratch – burger patties and the burger buns! If I can do it, so can you. The burger buns recipe is actually French Bread Rolls to Die For found on allrecipes.com. I will continue experimenting with the bread but the patties are good on their own, so if you have no bread, just eat them alone anyway.

The recipe below is for 6 burger patties and is an original.

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Veggie Burger

Serves 6. Prep time: 20 minutes. Cooking time: 30 minutes.

2 cups water

1/2 cup dried lentils

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 cup diced canned tomatoes (I used Fire Roasted but you can use any kind)

2 cups beans (I used chickpeas but you can use pinto or anything else)

1 cup corn kernels

1 cup shredded cheddar (I used Cheddar Jack)

1 cup breadcrumbs (I used Panko because it’s so crunchy)

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1 teaspoon ground black pepper

1 teaspoon ground tumeric (Optional)

2 large eggs (beaten)

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Method:

1. Boil lentils in water for about 15 to 20 minutes until tender. Drain and mash.

2. In a large mixing bowl add all the ingredients (tomatoes, beans, lentils, corn, cheese, spices, egg, breadcrumbs except olive oil) and mix till thoroughly combined. Best to use hands and feel free to squish everything. Quite fun! LALAALA…

3. Divide the mixture into 6 patties.

4. Fry the patties in olive oil over medium-high heat. Try not to crowd the pan. Cook 3 – 5 minutes on each side until brown.

5. Serve on its own or in a burger bun!

YUM! I popped the 2 leftover patties into a toaster oven for lunch the next day and it was soooo good with extra spicy sambal!

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Meatless Monday: Macaroni Soup

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Most families I know in Singapore have their own version of this dish. Like chicken soup or plain rice porridge, a shredded chicken macaroni in clear broth usually does the trick for a convalescing person. I have enjoyed many a bowl of this delicious and comforting pasta soup while growing up and while I no longer eat chicken, I still find it so good on its own. The best part is, you can make it in less than 30 minutes. I took about 20 minutes because that’s how long it took for my pasta to turn al dente.IMG_2483When I have children, this will be among the top 10 things I’d cook for them, especially since I can throw in any nutritious and seasonal vegetable for cheap. My favourites are still carrot (because it’s a bright orange and so sweet) and cabbage (cheap and long-lasting).

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Macaroni Soup

Serves 2 to 4. Prep time: 5 minutes. Cooking time: 20 minutes

2 cups macaroni (or any kind of pasta)

2 cups chopped vegetables (I used carrots & cabbage but frozen peas would do the trick too)

1 cube of vegetable stock

2 cloves of garlic (peeled and lightly smashed with a knife to release flavour)

5 cups of water

2 small shallots sliced thinly

4 tablespoons cooking oil

Salt & pepper to taste

Method:

1. Pour water into pot and throw in a stock cube. Turn heat on high till water boils.

2. Once stock cube has fully dissolved, throw in vegetables, macaroni and smashed garlic cloves. Turn heat down to medium.

3. Heat 4 tablespoons of oil in a pan or wok on high. Add thinly sliced shallots and turn heat down to medium low. (This is for the shallot oil used as a condiment but CLICK HERE for a proper recipe.)

4. Stir soup every so often and check to see if macaroni has turned al dente. Turn fire off.

5. When shallots start to brown at the edges, turn heat off as the shallots will continue turning into a crisp quickly.

6. Dish out macaroni and serve with 2 teaspoons of shallot oil as garnish.

OMG so yum! The dish is easy and versatile.

You can use any kind of pasta. Instead of macaroni, I used a mixture of mezzi rigatoni and tri-coloured penne because I had opened boxes. My favourite though, are elbow macaroni followed by farfalle. And you can also use any kind of veggies on hand – potato and carrots; cabbage and carrots; frozen mixed veggies; snow peas and corn etc. Also, add tofu cubes or any other ingredients on hand. So versatile!

The ratio I always use is 1 cup of uncooked pasta for 1 adult person (because it doubles in size) and 1 cup of chopped vegetables if it’s a side dish. So double or triple the recipe depending on how much you want to eat! This recipe is enough for T and I but would serve 4 if you eat like my mother and sisters – if you know what I mean.


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Meatless Monday: Cauliflower Mash

20131031-151802.jpgMashed potatoes are great. T and I love potato almost everything – he more than I do. This recipe came about because I was trying to cook something that would keep for a while, is easy to make and lower in carbohydrates (we eat a lot of potato, rice and pasta as vegetarians and T doesn’t like vegetables in general).

This recipe is just a little healthier using cauliflower than potatoes because it is a tad lower in carbohydrates. This doesn’t mean you should eat heaps of it because it still has stuff like butter, milk and cheese in it. I like that you can make a huge batch, then serve it as a side dish over several days and it doesn’t lose flavour or go bad. Also, I got to use my new favourite kitchen appliance – the Cuisinart Immersion Hand Blender.

20131031-152019.jpgCauliflower Mash

Serves 4 to 6. Prep Time: 5 minutes. Cooking time: 20 minutes.

1 medium head of Cauliflower

1 cup milk

1 cup shredded cheddar (you can use any cheese you like)

1 tablespoon garlic powder

1 teaspoon butter

1 tablespoon dried basil

Method:

1. Chop up the cauliflower into florets and drop it into a pot of boiling water. Boil till the florets are soft enough to be pierced by a fork.

2. Pour out all the water and mix all the ingredients (except basil) in the same pot.

3. Use an immersion blender or a food processor to blend everything together.

4. Sprinkle dried basil as a garnish upon serving.

TAH DAH!! If you want to, you can make this recipe lower in fat by using skim milk or low fat cheese.


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Meatless Monday: Fearless Fried Rice

20131008-134521.jpgThere’s obviously nothing fearful about fried rice. In fact, it’s probably the easiest thing to start with if you want to start stir frying! Everything just works with it! I was trying to be funny with the title but I don’t think it really works. It is however really simple and everyone should try it!

You can use any ingredients on hand, especially leftovers. The rice that I normally use for fried rice is usually cold and hard from the refrigerator. It’s the best kind for frying – the rice grains don’t break and are easier to stir fry. Also, you can substitute any of the ingredients – don’t add tomatoes, tofu or peas if you don’t like them. Throw some other things in them. I usually prefer them to be of different NATURAL colours just so that it looks pretty and you know the different colours represent different vitamins and minerals.

Tomatoes are one of my favourite things to eat. Cherry tomatoes, ketchup, tomato paste – anything except tomato juice. I’ve been told that eating tomatoes give you naturally flushed and ruddy cheeks. I’m not sure if that works for me and I don’t care. I do believe that they are among the healthiest things you can eat when eaten fresh and anything that slows down aging (Antioxidants, baby!), I LOVE LOVE LOVE. I digress. And here’s the recipe below:

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Fearless Fried Rice

Serves 4. Prep time: 5 mins. Cooking time: 15 mins.

6 cups or 3 full chinese rice bowls of cooked white rice

1/2 slab of extra firm tofu (cubed)

1 cup frozen peas (or any other veggies you like)

2 large eggs beaten

1 medium tomato (roughly chopped)

1/2 tablespoon garlic

1 tablespoon curry powder

1 tablespoon vegetarian oyster sauce (mushroom flavoured)

1 tablespoon soy sauce

1 tablespoon sesame oil (optional)

1 tablespoon cooking oil

Method:

1. Cut up tomatoes and tofu into large cubes or chunks. Then put aside.

2. Heat 1 tablespoon cooking oil in stir fry pan and brown 1/2 tablespoon garlic in medium-high heat.

3. Once garlic starts to turn light brown, add cubed tofu and toss gently so they won’t break.

4. Once cubed tofu turn brown on the edges, add frozen peas (I just rinse them in tap water).

5. Turn up the heat to maximum, then toss in cooked rice (I merely removed mine from the fridge without heating them) and stir carefully, breaking up any lumps.

6. Add 1 tablespoon soy sauce, 1 tablespoon sesame oil and stir into the rice, tofu and peas.

7. Once the condiments are more or less mixed it (there will still be white patches of rice), make a well and stir in the beaten eggs with oyster sauce. Let it sit and cook for about half a minute then mix the rice, egg, peas and tofu quickly.

8. Sprinkle 1 tablespoon of curry powder then toss the rice some more.

9. Once the rice looks more or less evenly browned and mixed, toss in the chopped up tomatoes (these should still be firm to bite when served).

10. Stir fry for about 1 minute then plate to serve.

I don’t use any salt or pepper with this dish because the soy sauce and curry powder have already added enough flavour. Feel free to mix any other ingredients or remove them all. The key ones are minced garlic, the egg, soy sauce and rice, of course.