Monthly Archives: March 2011

Offensive Dairy Post

I wanted to call this post Macaroni and Cheese or Rigatoni and Cheese, but I’ve read somewhere that blog entries will get more readers if their entries have more interesting titles. Macaroni and Cheese would also be false advertisement because this is not macaroni and cheese, it is rigatoni and cheese.

I titled it offensive dairy post because  Andrew, my boyfriend, finds dairy offensive.  He was grossed out by the smell of butter melting on the stove top yesterday and the strong smell of some delicious, strong cheeses. He said there was so much offensive dairy going into my lunch that he might have to take a walk. He was just joking about the last part, but the guy has some serious issues with dairy.

I hardly ever cook with dairy because of his aversion, but yesterday I was really craving pasta with cheese sauce, not necessarily macaroni and cheese, but some sort of pasta with cheese. I always hesitate to call something macaroni and cheese because mac and cheese conjures up images of neon orange powder mixed with little dried macaroni that we used to make into necklaces in pre-school. I loved that stuff.

The first step for making a cheese sauce is to make a roux. A roux is a mixture of melted butter and flour cooked on the stove top.

Melt about a tablespoon of butter

Add flour and cook on the stove top.

Add milk, whisk and cook until thickened. Add whatever spices you like. I used black pepper and salt.

Add sauce to cooked rigatoni. Enjoy!


 

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Breakfast at Rick’s Cafe

Last night I told Andrew that I wanted to go out for breakfast this morning. Since there was the tsunami watch in Santa Cruz and all the damage done to the harbor there, we decided not to go to Santa Cruz which is where we usually go if we want to have breakfast. Instead we went back to a place in Los Altos that we had been to once before: Rick’s Cafe. Rick’s Cafe is a good sized breakfast and lunch deal in the snazzy, up-scale mini-downtown of Los Altos, California. For those unfamiliar to the area, Los Altos is tucked between Mountain View and the 280. It’s a fairly wealthy area so its restaurants are fairly expensive.

Rick’s Cafe is no exception to that.  A breakfast there costs thirty dollars without the tip included. Their service is nothing amazing, in fact its incredibly average. The food comes out fast because they have a huge kitchen staff, but their wait staff seems to think it’s appropriate for people to wait fifteen to twenty minutes to get their bill after their dishes have been cleared. This has happened both times that we’ve gone there, once on a weekday morning and once a weekend morning. At least we didn’t have to wait too long for our food, which is of course the most important thing anyway.

There are a lot of choices at Rick’s Cafe. First they have about ten different kinds of pancakes that you can order. I’ve never ordered the pancakes there because I’m not really interested in pancakes and they don’t come with anything on the side. They also have crepes, skillets, cheese melters, basic breakfasts (bagels with meat and eggs), french toast, scrambles, and breakfast specials, such as huevos rancheros and egg’s benedict. The last time I went there I got the Lox Benedict which was delicious.

This time around I was not able to resist the hollandaise and got the Midshipman’s Crepe. The Midshipman’s Crepe consists of real lump crab meat, chives, jack cheese, avocado, and hollandaise sauce. I ordered mine without the cheese because seafood and cheese to me is an abomination of both cheese and seafood. The two just don’t mix for me. The crepe was tender, the crab meat very fresh tasting, and the hollandaise was creamy, piquant, and a bit spicy from the cayenne. This came with a toasted, buttered bagel and breakfast potatoes, which were a cross between hash browns and home fries. I was able to finish my crepe, bagel, and two cups of coffee, but only got through about a third of the potatoes before I gave up.

Andrew ordered the mountaineer’s skillet without cheese. He got annoyed when they served him a bagel already buttered, but they were very nice about it and immediately got him a non-buttered bagel. He seemed to enjoy his food enough after that.

 

What is SooFoo?

I have not been cooking lately. I’ve been busy with my credential classes and my job. I’m currently taking three courses at San Jose State University towards my moderate-severe special education credential. This is less than the four classes I was taking last semester, but the courses still require a lot of work in addition to the two jobs I work. For example, Monday was a fourteen hour day for for me. Seven hours at my main job (full-inclusion specialist at a middle school), an hour drive to my second job in Santa Cruz, two hours with my respite client at the occupational therapist, and then babysitting with my client from last year. It was a long day. Some days I go straight from work, to my second job, and then back to school and I don’t get home until ten o’clock at night. Oh and I also rock climb up to four times a week:

Me at the top of the high wall at Planet Granite in Sunnyvale

I don’t have much time to cook. I usually just grab a sandwich at the deli downstairs from my classes. Or  if I’m feeling really special or have a couple extra minutes I get a burrito from La Victoria across the street from the university, though I haven’t been super impressed by their burritos.

Last night I did take the time to cook myself a lunch for today. Andrew and I went to Whole Foods in Cupertino on Stelling and Steven’s Creek, which is where we do most of our grocery shopping. I do like Whole Foods, though it it not my favorite grocery store, but they have a wide variety of organic produce, plus they are the only place on this side of the hill that sells Straus Family Creamery cream-top milk, which is the only milk that I like to drink.  I will do some shopping at Safeway on Lawrence and Steven’s Creek or the 99 Ranch on Homestead and Wolfe, but Whole Foods is definitely where we do most of our regular shopping. It also has this amazing product:

It takes me about two hours to drink one of these, but it’s oh-so delicious

So one thing I do really like about Whole Foods are there packaged vegetables. The newest one that I’ve seen and had to try out was there Green Beans with Shallots and Lemon Butter. It turned out absolutely delicious. I know it’s probably cheating on the homemade scale, but it’s definitely better than frozen or canned green beans, plus it saved me a lot of time. I cooked them on the stove top, added some sliced lemon and ate them with a big serving of SooFoo.

Green beans, shallots, and garlic in a pan on medium.

Add the lemon garlic butter

I got a lemon from the backyard and put it in with my green beans.

Let me explain what SooFoo is. SooFoo is short for super-food. I first tried it as a sample at Whole Foods and yes, I was sucked in. They caught me hook, line and sinker. I suppose it might be cheaper to buy all the ingredients and separately and make the mixture on my own, but it’s just oh-so convenient to buy it all in one bag. It is a mixture of nine grains and legumes: barley, black lentils, brown lentils, buckwheat, green lentils, long grain brown rice, oats, rye berries, and wheat berries. It’s a really pretty mixture before you cook it. When cooked it is sort of brown and mucky looking, but still delicious.

SooFoo Before You Cook It

What my lunch ended up looking like

 

Where Have I Been?

I have some new photos and recipes to post soon. I also have a blog coming on about the foodie things I miss about Santa Cruz. I’ve been on hiatus from cooking due to work and school stress. Don’t lament, I will have a new post up soon.

I’ve got a question: What special food things do you relate with where you live, where you grew up, or a place you used to live?