Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Mixed Plate: Disorganized Kitchen Chaos - I Ain't Lazy, Just Crazy

Meals sometimes get a little crazy at Casa de Wasabi, so I apologize for the lack of ooh-la-lah foods. You know what I'm talking about -- there are weeks where meals get planned out on time, groceries purchased, and everything runs like clockwork. And then there are some weeks where you just have leftover stuff from previous meals and you just want to clean everything out before you buy anything new. The solution for those weeks look like this: Kitchen Sink Frittata, Bag o' Broccoli Soup, and for dessert, Beefcake 4000 Oatmeal Cookies.

Everything but the kitchen sink... wait, is that a spigot over there? Photo by Wasabi Prime

I get zero credit on the name, Kitchen Sink Frittata -- gotta give it up to my homeskillet, Radish and Rose, who would tell me about her Kitchen Sink Omelettes, wherein the refrigerator would be scoured of all random scraps of leftover vegetables and made into a large, hearty omelette. I made something similar with the frittata, throwing in spinach, leftover chicken and random bits of cheese, placed in a baking pan with a custard of eggs and milk, and then baked. Slices served up on a bed of greens for dinner and packed away for lunches at the office, it takes care of several meals for part of the week.

Soup is the answer, because no one knows what went in it - Photo by Wasabi Prime

Paired with the frittata or fine on its own was literally the Bag o' Broccoli soup. As in, I found a random bag of broccoli sitting in our box freezer from some forlorn Costco trip where I thought a frozen bag of broccoli would be a nifty idea. This logic is flawed! Don't ever buy frozen broccoli thinking it won't defrost into a giant pile of mush. Ain't. Gonna. Happen. Plus it was a giant bag that's so intimidating, you never want to open it in fear of trying to somehow wrestle it into a meal. It spent a night defrosting in the fridge and then I spread the entire contents of the bag across two baking sheets and roasted them with a bit of oil to help remove some of the water and concentrate the flavor down. The broccoli was transferred to a pot of simmering chicken stock and the stick blender made quick work of the florets, turning it into a murky, green stew that looked like I cooked Oscar the Grouch. However, with the help of a bit of seasoning and milk to both loosen and make the texture more creamy, the broccoli soup came together nicely. Garnished with crumbled feta and extra pepper, it would be totally fine to serve guests, and they probably wouldn't think to assume the ingredients came frozen, out of a bag. From Costco, no less. Broccoli de Ghetto Soup, anyone?
Spring Cleaning the fridge and freezer - Photos by Wasabi Prime

As for the Beefcake 4000 Oatmeal Cookie, yep, you guessed it, by the power of Eric Cartman, I used protein powder in a cookie recipe. Beefcake! BEEFCAKE!! This was less of a pantry-clearing exercise and more of a "what would happen if I did this..." experiment. I took a chewy oatmeal cookie recipe and substituted half the flour for whey-based protein powder. This is a good idea: Y/N? Well... it wasn't awful, and they actually were a pleasant enough treat to have around with the lie hanging in the back of my brain saying, "it's protein powder, so it's healthy, right??" How does it feel be going down the River of Denial, Wasabi?
Beefcake 4000 Oatmeal Cookies, better than Cheezy-Poofs. Photo by Wasabi Prime

The protein powder we use has a flavoring added to it, so it made the cookies a little on the malty side, which I think is mostly to tone down the fact that it's protein powder. Any hopes of making it healthy were quickly dashed when I added some white chocolate chips to it, plus the original recipe called for quite a bit of sugar. If I were to remake it with energy bar intentions, I would probably nix the sugar and use just a little honey as the sweetener, and add more nuts and dried unsweetened fruit. The protein powder seemed to hold up in the baking process, so I could probably replace the flour completely with it, were I to attempt this bizarre baked good again. I know it sounds like a weird thing to make, since protein bars are never something wonderful to eat. Chalk this one up to too much time and too much weird crap in the pantry.
Fine, so meal options aren't always pretty when you're home-cookin' it most of the time. But it can't be all champagne wishes and caviar dreams -- life happens, you can't always go out for meals, and sometimes you just have to get a little crazy.
No whey?  Whey. Photos by Wasabi Prime

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