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    Just the thoughts and cookings of a software engineer that likes to make foodstuffs from time to time in the bay area of California.
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Day 7 of the menu plan: Spaghetti Pie

Today was the last day in the week of menu plans. As planned, I made Creamy Spaghetti Pie. I used to make spaghetti pie a bit when I was on Weight Watchers. I thought I’d try again with a meatless version.

Creamy Spaghetti Pie

It didn’t go very well, but tasted alright. I used low-fat cottage cheese instead of ricotta. That was fine. But it was all very runny. And it didn’t fit into my pie pan at all. Not sure what happened to cause all the excess water. I’m sure the leftovers are going to be amazing though.

Instead of serving it with the planned green beans, I served it with a salad so that I could try out a dressing.

Doing a menu plan for the week is nice but I need to focus on it more and read the recipes better. Maybe then I won’t end up cooking till late at night for that evening’s meal. This week is going to be a whirlwind anyway. This weekend is the conference where I present a 40-minute session on marketing to the younger generation. There’s also library board meeting, class, Toastmasters meeting, class team meeting, and more.

Then it calms down a little but not as much as it’ll calm down in December! (Right around the corner. See it? Hi! There it is.)

Exploration about town: Grey Goose Restaurant

I had a dinner meeting. Being a vegetarian before is no different now that I’m back on the wagon: I worry about dinner meetings! I abhor bell pepper. For some reason, most everything I get that is the result of checking the vegetarian box on an RSVP has bell pepper. Why! Why, oh bell pepper, must you vex me so?

Last night was no different. At least, though, I could remove it easily. I believe I amused those at my table.

Vegetarian entree
Grilled Vegetable Napoleon with Roasted Tomato Compote

The dinner was at The Grey Goose Restaurant which was a lovely place. (Gotta love a restaurant with a great website!) The food was delicious, though I didn’t like the pie as much as I thought I would so 3/4 of that was left behind. Oh, and, of course, the surgically removed roasted bell pepper was left with no apologies.

Grilled Vegetable Napoleon with Roasted Tomato Compote had zucchini, yellow squash, portabella mushroom, roasted red pepper, mashed potato, and roasted tomato sauce. The brown drizzle was… balsamic reduction/glaze? Rosemary sprig for garnish. It was hard to pick apart all the flavors. And I’m already feeling a lack of confidence in identifying flavors because I failed so miserably at the lunch on Monday!

Is it a Napoleon cause it is layered? Neat idea filed away into the inspiration box.

Chocolate fudge pie
Chocolate Fudge Pie

Incredible homemade Indian lunch

I work at a place where scientists come from all over the world to do experiments. Every once in a while, I get to enjoy homemade food from the world’s greatest cooks!


What a spread! Sandy — nickname — is from Calcutta and treated us to slap your mamma good food. Let’s see… Starting with the pot in the top left: Rice with asparagus and … shoot, I should have taken pictures of my plate but people were already wary of my picture taking; chicken; shrimp (prawns); I forget but it was amazing and had cilantro in it; carrot “sweet dish”; more of the cilantro-y sauce; spinach and made-from-scratch cottage cheese (not our cottage cheese) and potato; tomato ginger relish; another shrimp dish. All was vegetarian except for the seafood dishes and the one chicken dish, of course.

I tell you what… I don’t know all the seasonings or all the ingredients, but I do know it was out of this world amazing. I am so thankful to have been invited!

My favorite dish was the spinach, potato and cheese dish. She makes her own cheese. She said the carrot dish was a sweet dish so it was warmed in the microwave. We had that as dessert. I’m not a huge carrot fan but that was rocking. Also, the ginger tomato dish is served at the end to help with digestion. Who knew?

The carrot dish was made with grated carrots, evaporated milk, I think, light-colored raisins, cashews and pistachio. It was very sweet and rich.

She also served some great tea that came from India. No tea bags. It was loose leaf Darjeeling.

Also! I learned I have been eating incorrectly. The hostess informed us that she eats a little rice and a little taste. Because there are so many flavors there, that you go up many times. So I did. That was wild. Very good.

Sandy, thank you! Oh, to be able to learn in your kitchen for a few years!

Quick Tofu Fried Rice

Tofu fried rice

I saw Tofu vegetable fried rice today through foodgawker and it inspired dinner!

Quick Tofu Fried Rice

1 block firm tofu, drained, pressed, cubed
1/2 onion, chopped
2 cups (ish?) leftover brown rice
1 cup (ish?) frozen mixed vegetables, thawed
1/3 cup (ish?) low-sodium soy sauce
freshly ground pepper
1 teaspoon (ish?) vegetable oil

I drained the tofu, wrapped it in one paper towel, then wrapped that with a kitchen towel. I then put a heavy cast iron pan on it and let that sit while I chopped up the onion and thawed the vegetables.

I sliced the tofu lengthwise then cubed it so that they were small-ish cubes.

Heat some vegetable oil in a skillet over medium. When it’s hot, add the tofu cubes. I flipped them around to get as much of the sides browned as possible. Cook for about 5 minutes. Remove and save.

Add some vegetable oil to the skillet. Once it’s hot, add the onion and vegetables. Stir-fry for about 5 minutes. Add rice. I cooked for about 5 minutes. If the rice is too cold, I would heat it up so that the vegetables don’t get overcooked.

Add soy sauce, pepper, then the tofu. I add enough pepper so that I see it. That’s how I know it’s the flavor I like. That’s up to preference, much like the soy sauce. Heat for about 2 minutes.

Tofu fried rice vegetables Tofu fried rice tofu

In the past, I’ve added egg to fried rice. To do that, I push the rice to the side and add a little wetness like butter to a corner of the pan. The egg fries up quickly, then gets folded into the rice. Also, I’ve done cornstarch on the tofu before but wanted to try without this time. I didn’t miss it.

Eggplant Experiment continues: Stirfry

I tried again to recreate the a side dish I ate a few months ago. I remember the cook saying she nuked it for 20 minutes to get the water out and then some time in the pan. 20 minutes seemed a long time.

I took an eggplant, sliced it into 1/3″ slices, salted, and put in a colander. This process I found in random googling. The salting process is supposed to get the water out. After 45 minutes, I rinsed the slices off and squeezed them as dry as I could. I even put them on a towel to help dry them more. I then chopped it up and added it to a pan that already had onion (1/2 chopped red), garlic (2 cloves) and olive oil (1 Tablespoon) going. I also added some pepper. I sauteed it a bit then covered it over low and cooked for about 10 minutes. I took the lid off and continued for a few minutes more till it was tender.

I served it with warmed pita bread, store-bought hummus, and leftover spaghetti.

Eggplant and spaghetti

I don’t know. It just wasn’t it and I’m not sure how to get it. Maybe she didn’t use onion and garlic? Or maybe the colander trick doesn’t work like I thought? Not sure. It was OK, but I will definitely experiment again.

Dinner: Spaghetti

I cleaned out my pantry a bit and found three jars of spaghetti sauce. There are also quite a few packages of noodles in there. Time for Spaghetti!

I tried Bertolli Organic sauce and added some chopped up Roma tomatoes that were passing away into tomato Heaven on the counter. Pretty good. Rounded out the meal with some noodles with “plus” on the box, cheese on top of bread, and some spinach on the side. Quick meal and tasty.

Now. What to do with the leftover sauce? And the other two jars?


Dinner: Sweet Potato Burrito

Something was off. I’m not sure what. Maybe the garlic? It basically just tasted like a bean burrito to me. The other eater thought the sweet potato was weird. I wrapped up the leftovers (lots) in plastic and put them in the freezer. I’ll post when I try that. I’m new to the freezing thing 🙂

Sweet Potato Burrito

Dinner: Sweet Potato Burrito