Archive for February, 2009

Pine Nuts: A Proposal

Abstract
This paper recognizes the inherent deliciousness and nutritiousness of pine nuts. Their deliciousness and nutritiousness is recognized both by the flavor they impart in dishes, and by their nutritional profile. Acknowledging these two qualities, I will seek to incorporate pine nuts into every feasible dish, until my supply runs out. I then propose to purchase more of them.

Background

When I visited my mom up north earlier this month (or at the end of January, to be more correct), we made scrumptious butternut squash, goat cheese, and sage ravioli (whole wheat pasta).  In my previously successful ravioli-making endeavors, I served such ravioli with a garlicy tomato sauce; I found the flavors of the tomatoes to be an interesting complement to the flavor of the squash.  My mother doubted this combination, however, and suggested we find another sauce to use.

Flipping through Mark Bittman’s How to Cook Everything Vegetarian, I came accross a recipe for a “rustic pine nut sauce.”  Pine nuts are mild in flavor, with a slight buttery texture.  I often toast them and put them with pasta or on top of pizza.  Nevertheless, I had yet to make a sauce out of them.

My variation on the sauce involved roughly chopping one cup of pine nuts, toasting them in olive oil and garlic with an equal portion of bread crumbs, adding spinach, a half a cup of dry white wine, and a touch of water. I then simmered all this until the liquid had been absorbed; finally, I sprinkled a very liberal amount of parmesan cheese over the top.

The sauce was delicious. It went nicely with the scrumptious ravioli, but in fact, we found that it was scrum-diddly-umptious all on its own.  I finished the leftovers.  I was lucky that the pine nut has such an impressive nutritional profile, through which I was able to glean an astounding number of vital nutrients, including Lucine.

Proposal

Following the success of my rustic pine nut sauce adaptation, I propose to add pine nuts to every feasible dish.  By the term “feasible dish” I mean including, but not limited to: pasta, pizza, omelets, ice cream, granola, soup, bread, cupcakes, cookies, sandwhiches, chili, casseroles, rice and beans, enchiladas, Trader Joe’s Frozen Burritos*, sautéed vegetables, dried fruit, GORP, oatmeal, crackers and cheese, tuna, roast chicken, pancakes, and french toast.  In short, anything edible.

I predict that, with the addition of pine nuts, the flavor and nutritional value of each of these dishes will be vastly improved.  The exceptions to this prediction, that will prove the rule, are Trader Joe’s Frozen Burritos (whose perfection cannot be improved upon) and french toast (commonly held by all to be the Best Breakfast in the Universe).  These dishes, however, already far surpass any other food in deliciousness and nutritiousness; thus, I find them to be the rare cases in which adding pine nuts would serve no benefit.

Methods

I will chop, grind, smush, and smash pine nuts in order to incorporate them into my proposed dishes.  I will toast them occasionally, and sometimes I will throw them in whole and raw.  By utilizing a range of methods I will provide dishes with a variety of textures and aesthetic qualities.  It is further predicted that the method might influence the overall appeal of the final dish; thus, I may find it necessary to adjust my methods as time progresses, based on cumulating results.

When my supply of pine nuts is diminished or eliminated, I will refresh them with new supplies purchased at the grocery store.

Conclusion

In conclusion, this proposal seeks to incorporate pine nuts into every feasible dish.  Their deliciousness and nutritiousness will improve the flavor and health quality of any dish to which they are an addition.  The exceptions here are dishes whose perfection cannot be improved upon; thus, pine nuts will not be added.  It is based on my history of delicious pine nut dishes that I make such predictions, and it is this background that makes me most suitable to continue such an experiment.

The End.

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New Favorite Omelet

I am a big fan of eggs. They are super nutritious, über-versatile, and ultra tasty. However, I really only like them two ways: scrambled, or in an omelet. Basically, those are the same way, but in different forms (because you have to beat them first to get an omelet, ya know). In some contexts (for example, on a bun with avocado, onion, and a teeny bit of hot sauce– green, preferably) I like fried eggs, but I don’t like the yolks too runny. Once I had an egg over-easy (with bi bim bop), and it was pretty good, but I couldn’t think too hard about it. I OD’d on hard-boiled eggs as a kid (egg salad sandwiches, anyone?) and now absolutely cannot eat them. Except mushed into things. Ew.

Eggs are versatile, and will pair well with just about anything. When I say I have “eggs” in the morning, I don’t really mean just “eggs.” Usually I throw in some potatoes, onion, garlic, spinach, and whatever other veggies are in season. I brown all of those in some olive oil and then pour my beaten eggs on top. Scramble away.

Until exactly one day ago, my all-time favorite egg dish was a scramble (or frittata, basically just a baked scramble) with sweet potatoes, spinach, garlic, onion, and goat cheese. Dee-licious. See, I may like omelets, but I had yet to master the presentation.

Until now.

I don’t know what happened, but suddenly I am able to successfully turn and flip an omelet. Increased patience? Better spatula-skills? Sheer dumb luck?

So my new thing: a one-egg omelet (I get the local variety of big brown eggs… they’re big!) filled with onions, garlic, spinach, pine nuts, and parmesan cheese. It’s basically this pasta “sauce” that I made the other night, less the white wine and bread crumbs, wrapped in a blanket of egg-y goodness.

Sautée the onions, garlic, and pine nuts together until the onions are soft and the pine nuts are getting toasty. Salt. Pepper. Add the spinach and cook until wilted. Remove from pan. Add one well-beaten egg with just a splash of cream or milk to the pan. When the eggs lose their sheen on top, add the veg to one half. Sprinkle liberally with cheese. Gently fold the eggs in half, over the veg. Flip once, and serve. Mmm.

Cat on Books

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