Disney’s ratatouille

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Doesn’t look like much. I know.

Adapted from Dishes by Disney

Ingredients:
1 zucchini, cut into large cubes
1 eggplant, cut into large cubes (I subbed with a green bell pepper for lack)
1 yellow squash, cut into large cubes
1 sweet red pepper, cut into large slices
1 red onion, cut into large cubes
2 tablespoons garlic, chopped
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
4 sprigs thyme
1 14oz can crushed tomatoes
4 eggs

Directions:
Saute the red onion and garlic in olive oil over medium heat until fragrant. Add the rest of the vegetables. Add the salt, pepper, and thyme. Cook for 5-10 minutes. Add the can of crushed tomatoes. Crack the eggs and poach them in wells in the pot, like shakshuka. Spoon sauce over and let heat cook them a few minutes. Serve hot.

I had half a box of white mushrooms, so I tossed them in last, chopped same size as all the other veggies. Apparently the modern ratatouille included marjoram, fennel and basil, or bay leaf and thyme, or a mix of green herbs like herbes de Provence, so I threw in a few bay leaves while our little potted basil re-grows its leaves from the last Continental recipe.

~Jessica

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Chinese scallion pancakes, part II

IMG_2701.JPGAdapted from Sichuan Food, repeat of part I

Ingredients:
300g all-purpose flour
150g hot water
1 tablespoon cooking oil
1 bunch of scallions thinly chopped
½ teaspoon salt
sesame oil

Directions:
Melt the salt in the hot water. Make the dough with this water, set it aside for around 10-25 minutes. Roll out the dough into a large round cylinder. Brush some sesame oil on the surface of the circle. Sprinkle the chopped scallions evenly on the surface. Roll the dough round into a cylinder. Make sure that the chopped scallions are inside the cylinder! Wrap the cylinder around into the shape of a snail shell. Roll out and flatten the snail into another big circle. Brush some cooking oil on a pan and then fry the pancakes until each side is lightly browned.

Amber had brought back three bunches of green scallions from Flushing, on her weekly visit to her parents’. So time to use that up! Delicious fresh dough.

~Jessica

Strawberry chia jam

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Fresh  out of the pot

Adapted from Nadia Lim

Ingredients:
2 cups strawberries, frozen
3 tbsp honey
2 tbsp chia seeds
splash of vanilla extract (optional)
splash of water
splash of lemon juice

Directions:
Mix all ingredients except chia seeds. Cook in a small pot over medium heat for 5-10 minutes. Stir until thickened, breaking up the fruit. Sweeten to taste. Add the chia seeds and stir for a minute. Let jam cool slightly, then transfer to heatproof, sterilized jars (I adore Bonne Maman preserves, so I always save up their jars). Cover and let cool completely. Chill in the fridge until ready to use.

IMAG1293After looking up all of those interesting ways to use chia seeds, I became fascinated with this simple recipes. Only berries and sugar and chia seeds are essential, but I had the rest in the pantry, so hey, why not? All the little chia seeds look like strawberry seeds in the photo! I thought the vanilla flavouring unnecessary, so I wouldn’t add it next time. And it wasn’t overly sweet, as most jams are — a nice change!

~Jessica

Chia seed pudding, part II

IMG_2689Adapted from Wellness Mama retry of this

Ingredients:
2 cups almond-coconut milk
1/2 cup chia seeds
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup maple syrup (or honey)
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon powder

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sprinkled with a touch of cinnamon

Instructions:
Whisk all ingredients together. Refrigerate overnight. Eat with fresh fruit in the morning.

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pre-almond topped

I wanted to try a chia seed recipe without using yogurt, because I love my yogurt, but I wanted to use up the almond milk before it expires (one week after opening, according to the label).

So I layered 3 spoonfuls of chia pudding with 2 spoonfuls of whole milk plain yogurt. Added chopped strawberries and toasted chopped almonds and a spoonful of jam to finish. This made enough chia pudding for six (small) servings.

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~Jessica

Chicken cacciatore

IMG_2684Adapted from Simply Recipes

4 thin cut chicken breasts, organic
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 glugs of extra virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, thinly sliced root to tip
1 red or green bell pepper, seeded, sliced thin
140 g (5 oz) white cremini mushrooms, thickly sliced
2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
80 mL (1/3 cup) white or red wine
800 g (28 ounce) can of plum tomatoes in their juice
1 teaspoon dry thyme
2 teaspoons fresh oregano, chopped

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Rinse the chicken, let dry. Season each side with salt. Add some oil to the pan (big enough to fit everything), brown both sides of the chicken. Set aside. Make sure there’s enough oil/fat in the pan, then add the onions, saute until fragrant. Add the garlic, saute until fragrant. Add the rest of the sliced vegetables. Cook until they’re all a little bit softened, then deglaze with the dry white wine. Cook until half the wine has evaporated, then add the tomatoes and all seasonings. Taste the sauce and season accordingly. Add the chicken on top, turn down the heat to low and cook 20-40 minutes. Check the chicken is cooked through, and serve with  rice.

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Amber was feeling like chicken cacciatore, so voila. Rike from Hamburg helped me prep and cook! Food for three plus leftovers for one. Cacciatore (“hunter”) suggests a working man’s meal, better with country bread or pasta, in my opinion. Next time I might try the recipe with bay leaf and rosemary sprigs. Also our “dry white wine” was some questionable cognac-looking Georgian wine, as in the country in the Caucasus region of Eurasia. Don’t try their wine. Someone brought it to the apartment for a house party, probably. Friends.

~Jessica

A former fellow graduate student

 who became a science communicator! At a time when understanding science is more vital than ever.

This week, Megan Litwhiler responds to the #MySciComm questions! Megan is a scientist turned science communicator. After finishing her PhD in bird ecology, and a brief stint at Harvard’s Arnold Arboretum, Megan moved on to her current role as a Research Communications Associate at the Museum of Science in Boston. When she’s not science communicating, she’s hanging […]

via #MySciComm: Megan Litwhiler — ESA SciComm Section:

Steel-cut oats oatmeal

IMAG1097Adapted from Alton Brown

Ingredients:
1 tbsp butter
1 cup steel-cut oats
3 cups boiling water
1 cup almond milk
pinch of salt
toppings: ground cinnamon, honey, toasted chopped walnuts, extra milk

Directions:
Melt the butter in a saucepot. Add the oats and toast for a couple of minutes, stirring. Add the boiling water, then reduce heat to low and leave untouched for 25 minutes, simmering. Add the cup of milk and mix to combine, scraping up the bottom if need be. Leave for another 10 minutes. Add the salt; stir. Let rest 5 minutes to thicken. Serve with toppings of your choice. I like to add a little more milk at the end, like a warm porridge cereal.

My favorite packet of Quaker ® Instant Oatmeal is apples and cinnamon, since childhood. So I first started trying this type of oatmeal when I came across a rust-red box of it in the organic cereals section of my local ShopRite back in Jersey City, during my grad school days. Eating healthy and cheaply then was the priority. Now I think of steel-cut oats as being Irish, ever since visiting Ireland. This does take longer to cook than instant oatmeal, but I like the chewy texture and nutty flavor. It’s worth it. Plus, slow food!

~Jessica