HodgePodge


Hello all, welcome to the ninth installment of Food in Mind. This is a more informal installment where I show you a couple of the more simpler things I make when I’m out of ideas or ingredients, or just plain lazy. These dishes may not impress anyone, but they’re easy to whip up to fill your hunger in a pinch. Even for people who love to cook like me, sometimes I’m only cooking because I need to eat.

Level One: Pizza Baguette

A blend of America and France, just like Stephano. USA! USA! USA!

Baguettes are the end of one baking process, but they are also the beginning of many others. This is a good way to give stale baguettes back their crispy crust. These are also fucking easy to make.

Preheat oven to 400F. Chop your baguette into roughly 8 inch to 1 foot sections, then slice them in half. Add pizza toppings. Pictured is the simplest possible mix, marinara sauce with pepper jack cheese (what I had on hand at the time). Feel free to experiment with many different toppings. Alternatively, if you wish to turn this into an hors d’oeuvre, slice baguettes via cross sections instead of lengthwise. This will give you many smaller pieces for more servings.

Pop the suckers into the oven for about 10-12 minutes. I prefer them slightly over-done with the cheese just starting to turn yellow at the edges, as I find this give you a crispier crust.

Level Two: Vegetable Soup

This is what happens when your camera shits all over the colors of autumn.

More specifically, this is a variation of home style vegetable soup very common in my home town of Shanghai, China. Total ingredients in the picture above as follows: potatoes, tomatoes, green cabbage, chicken broth, salt, vegetable oil. The chicken broth was made from scratch. If you also wish to make your broth from scratch, you will need various chicken scraps/bones, a smaller second pot and a strainer (strongly recommended).

First, fill your smaller pot with as much water as you will use in the main soup. Bring this to a boil. Meanwhile, chop potatoes, tomatoes, and cabbage into bite-sized pieces. Keep them in separate piles, as they will enter the soup at different times. Once the water has reached a boil, simmer your chicken scraps for maybe five to ten minutes.

At the same time, pour about a tablespoon of oil into your main pot and dump the tomatoes in with some salt. Cook the tomatoes until they are soft and mushy, almost like a sauce. The longer you cook the tomatoes and the more tomatoes you use, the redder your resulting soup will be. These tomatoes, along with the chicken broth, will be the main flavoring agent for your soup. Once the tomatoes are cooked, strain your chicken broth (you’ll see why once you’ve made this) into the main pot. Bring to a boil, then dump your potatoes into the pot. These will need to simmer for roughly fifteen minutes by themselves. After fifteen minutes, place the cabbage into the pot and cook until cabbage is no longer raw, but not completely tender (overcooked). Salt and pepper to taste.

A more American variation will possibly start with a trinity base of minced celery, onion, and carrots. You can also try blending this base (after sauteing) with the cooked tomatoes before adding potatoes and cabbage.

This soup is great in the colder months when hot, and can be served cool in the warmer months.

Level Three: Oatmeal Raisin

Ah gotz yer fiber raaght heeah. Come git sum.

These particular cookies were adapted from the recipe found here. All credit goes to the original author. So ahh, just use that recipe. I’ll only comment on things I found notable while following the instructions. Also, I leave you with this picture taken during the mixing process:

HNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNGGGGGGGGGGG

The only deviation I made was that I only had dark brown sugar on hand instead of light brown sugar (hence the dark color of pictured cookies). YOU, on the other hand, should use light brown sugar. Technically there isn’t much difference in the resulting flavor, but the problem with dark brown sugar is that it’s damned impossible to tell when the cookies are done by color, since the cookies already look like they’re burnt even when they are not. Bake for about 10-12 minutes.

As with many cookies, these will still be rather soft when you first pull them out of the oven, so a simple touch test will not work. Cool the cookies for at least five minutes before attempting to remove them from the rack. These cookies are a bit nutty in their flavor, so chopped/crushed nuts (probably walnuts) will be a fantastic complement.

In general, cookies are all pretty easy to make and fool proof. Just mix dry ingredients into wet ingredients, place onto cookie sheet/parchment paper, and bake for the duration instructed.

And that’s the end. Three disparate recipes does a blog post make. Hodgepodge.

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